White is becoming a fashion necessity


August 11, 1994|By Elsa Klensch | Elsa Klensch,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

Q: Living in Northern California, I find that leather is the most practical coat for me. I've had brown and black, but now for fall I want a change. Something really fashionable but also wearable.

A: I took your question to Miuccia Prada. She's the brilliant designer who took over her Milan-based family leather business in the late '70s and has brought it to the cutting edge of fashion.

She suggests a white coat that's not too shiny:

"Constructed coats look new again for me, and I believe in the newness of white.

"White is the opposite of black, so women who always wore black can now wear white. Like black, white goes with everything.

"White is becoming very important and necessary to have in a wardrobe. There is a need for the cleanliness, the innocence of white. It is refreshing to the mind as well as the outfit.

"I'm sure this idea of white is not only fashion. It will surface in interior decoration. It's a long time since we have had all-white homes.

"I think white has become a spiritual necessity."

Q: I have inherited a three-strand pearl necklace from my godmother. It is about 20 years old and has an important ruby and diamond clasp which my godmother wore on the side so it could be seen. I'll never wear it as it is. It's just too dressy.

My husband says to sell it and buy something modern. But I don't want to part with it. If I decide to keep it, how could I have it made into something modern?

A: Keep the pearls. They are the most versatile and flattering jewelry you can own. They bring light to the face and flatter every skin type.

Take your necklace to a reputable jeweler and have it appraised. While you are there try on different necklaces to see what suits you and your lifestyle. Jeanne Daniel of Tiffany & Co. says the simplest options are a necklace and a bracelet. They would become part of your daily jewelry wardrobe. You could wear them at the same time or not, depending on your mood.

"Another option," according to Ms. Daniel, "would be to restring the pearls as a necklace that could be converted, with an invisible clasp, into a choker length at 18 inches or opera length at 30 inches. Both lengths are flattering."

The size and quality of the stones will be the deciding factor when it comes to resetting them. For a modern look you could have the ruby set on a simple chain, so it sits at the base of your throat, and the diamonds made into earrings. Or if you prefer to keep the stones in one piece, have them set into a pin or a ring.

Q: My eyes are deep set. Every time I put eye shadow on my eyelid it runs into the crease of my eye. I've tried both powder and cream. Is there some trick?

A: You may find "priming" your lids is the solution, says Pablo Manzoni, Italian-born, Manhattan-based makeup stylist.

"A primer, or eyelid foundation, will set the shadow and stop it from running into the crease. Buy one of the better brands in a pale beige or a pale, pale pink. Apply it lightly over the lid, making sure to cover any blemishes. Then, if the directions suggest, powder over the whole lid."

Mr. Manzoni says foundations don't work because they're too creamy.

"It is important that the lid be dry when you apply the shadow. Then and only then will it stay in place.

"Use a matte neutral brown or gray shadow. Or, if you want something different, a pale lilac or mauve. They are the most flattering colors for the eye.

"Brush the shadow on the front of the lid, keeping it well away from the crease. Never, never put powder in the crease.

"For the area under the brow, use a warm matte reddish-brown. This will make the bone recede and the eyes appear bigger.

"Then carefully stroke on layer after layer of mascara -- black. If you are a platinum blond, then deep brown black. The more you put on, the better. Dark lashes frame the eyes, bring them out and so make them appear bigger.

"One last word, when you use a lot of mascara, stay with black. Any other color looks artificial and detracts from your eyes."

Elsa Klensch is Style Editor for Cable News Network. Her program can be seen each weekend on CNN. Check local listings for show times.

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