LOS ANGELES - Consistently, the European fashion designers seem to be the ones who forge the trends that American designers interpret into more wearable versions of clothing.
But many of the most successful designers have ignored Europe and started looking for inspiration from honest-to-goodness Americans, the hard-working kind.
So perhaps it's no fluke that New York designer Donna Karan's latest spring sportswear collection, DKNY, looks like something derived from a California cattle ranch that hired Thelma and Louise.
Full of black cowboy boots paired with jeans and denim shirts cut into vests, the DKNY spring collection includes Valley Girl basics like cowboy boots, denim bib-overall shorts, bustiers and faded blue denim jeans shredded and ripped (for $85!!).
The great interpreter Karan has even included a T-shirt mocking the hottest California craze, Harley-Davidson wear, specifically the bald eagle motif. If the whole look isn't already in your closet, it will start appearing in better department stores by about February.
DRINK TO FASHION: The latest American art form discovered by the Absolut Vodka promoters is American fashion. A dozen designers, including several from California, have been selected to showcase their interpretations of an Absolut vodka bottle in a garment. The results will appear in the November issue of Vanity Fair.
The designers with California showrooms or roots are Holly Sharp, Maggie Barry and Stephen Walker of Van Buren, Randolph Duke, Kevan Hall and Robin Piccone. The collection also includes the work of Jeanette Kastenberg, Celia Tejeda, Robert Massimo Freda, Jose Natori, Joyce Michel and Todd Oldham.
After the photographs of the 12 designs have been seen in the magazine, the collection will be made available for selected fund-raising fashion shows through the country, said Michel Roux, president of Carillon Importers Ltd. of Teaneck, N.J.
HONEY FACIAL: The latest item to show up in gym bags at the health club? A bottle of honey.
Women have been applying a light coat of the sweet stuff to their faces before going into the sauna. Now the people from Crabtree & Evelyn say that honey makes a wonderful facial mask.
The honey, they say, hydrates and tones normal-to-dry skin. To use it outside the sauna, allow the honey to remain on the face for five to seven minutes, then rinse with warm water.
ESCADA ARRIVES: Few designers inspire as much head-to-toe loyalty as Margaretha Ley, who is the creative force behind Escada.
Her spring collection, while not revolutionary, shows Ley has managed to tap the hot trends in Europe and America and interpret them into fashions that less daring, but stylish, women will want to wear to the office, to lunch and on weekends.
The designer isn't cheap, but she's not outrageous. Professional working women or the married-well buy her suits and beaded evening gowns that can cost from $1,000 to $1,300. HC