'Festive' occasion can invite dressiness with a touch of wit


March 09, 1995|By Elsa Klensch | Elsa Klensch,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

Q: I have received an invitation to an engagement party at one of Manhattan's most exclusive hotels. The dress required is "festive." I don't know what that means. I'd appreciate it if you would make a suggestion for both my wife and myself.

A: I can't think of anyone better suited to answering your question than Randy Kemper, one of the bright lights in New York fashion.

Mr. Kemper says, " 'Festive' implies either dressy or witty and fun, depending on the occasion and location. Since the party is at an elegant hotel, it's sure to mean dressy. Try adding sparkle to your suit with a flashy tie. Perhaps a bow tie would be just the thing.

"For your wife, a dress or a suit would be appropriate, but she should choose an outfit that is really sexy."

The important thing is to wear something comfortable that puts you in a festive mood.

Q: For Easter I want to send flowers to my secretary, my girlfriend and some members of my family. I think red roses are great, but my ex-wife always told me that they are very special. When you send red roses it means "love," and she was offended when I sent them to anyone but her.

While we were married I'd never admit she was right, as a matter of principle. But now I'm having second thoughts.

Is red appropriate for my girlfriend? Would sending a live plant be better? My ex also insisted that plants were only for sick people.

A: Your ex-wife's views on flowers are somewhat old-fashioned, according to designer Robert Pesany of Madderlake, a Manhattan florist in business for 20 years: "If the person you are sending flowers to loves red roses, then by all means send red roses. Don't be bound by tradition."

Mr. Pesany says the same rule applies to plants. "There are situations where plants just make more sense. A person in an office could welcome a plant, and so could someone who has just moved into a new home.

"There are so many beautiful choices available in both flowers and plants today, it is ridiculous to abide by rigid customs. Personal preference is what counts today."

Elsa Klensch welcomes questions from readers. While she cannot reply individually, she will answer those of general interest in her column. Send questions to Elsa Klensch, Los Angeles Times Syndicate, 218 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, Calif. 90012.

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