Time, cash makes better fit possible

September 18, 1991|By Anne-Marie Schiro | Anne-Marie Schiro,N.Y. Times

NEW YORK YFB — NEW YORK -- At one end of the fashion spectrum is haute couture, realm of the privileged few who can afford time-consuming fittings and five-figure prices. At the other end is the world of off-the-rack clothing, inhabited by millions of women with limited time and money to spend on their wardrobes.

In between is the small enclave of custom-made clothing. There, for the price of fine ready-to-wear, an exacting woman can get distinctive clothes that are made to fit her body. She can choose the color and fabric, have the neckline or sleeves changed, and end up with one of a kind.

A range of salons in New York City offer made-to-order clothes. rTC Some are run by designers who produce a collection each season. Others will copy a favorite suit or whip up a dress based on a sketch or a photograph. A few will design something special.

Jonal is one of the most successful custom operations, having evolved in nine years from a small store to three stories of a town house at 25 East 73rd Street. On the second floor, which is furnished like an elegant living room with sofas and tables, a few styles are displayed on mannequins, and accessories are arranged on side tables. Home accessories are on the third floor, workrooms on the fourth.

The owners, Susan McCone and Sherry Jacobs, put on fashion shows for clients, who include business and society women. The fall-winter show, for example, is to be held tomorrow. After making an appointment, a customer might meet with Carla LaMonte, an ex-model who is Jonal's fashion director and can help put together an outfit.

"A customer doesn't need to buy something as shown," she said. "She can order a fabulous jacket, which is a major building block, and then a full or a straight skirt, pants or a dress."

She can also order a jacket or dress in a choice of fabrics. A long shaped jacket with a stand-away collar is $1,950 in wool crepe, $1,875 in pique, $2,200 in dot-embroidered denim and $2,400 in metallic brocade. Orders take four to five weeks. Accessories are sold off the rack, as are some sweaters and blouses.

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