Working a new look
Retail stores, like designers, periodically have to reasses their fashion direction. Express has decided to grow up. The chain, which for some time has geared its styling to junior slackers, is now focusing on the working graduates. This fall there's more for freshman career types, who may be hip, but suddenly need real clothes for the job and real social situations like a company dinner.
The line includes more sophisticated textures like matte jerseys, velvets and high-tech finishes for a city beat. The 7/8 jacket in a pewter metallic finish (shown here) shows that Express design is paying attention to international runways.
Kady Dalrymple, vice-president of design for the chain, says she's in the process of building a team of 22 young designers who will travel the United States and Europe for inspiration in developing this new fashion dynamic.
Talk to a fashion maven and you'll soon discover that she has fewer clothes than you do, spends less time putting herself together, yet manages to project that certain aura called style. Kim Johnson Gross, who with her partner Jeff Stone originated the Chic Simple series of books published by Alfred A. Knopf, also has model looks and a track record as fashion editor at Esquire and Town & Country.
Her published philosophy is that it takes some effort to simplify life, but once done, the chic follows naturally.
"Statistics show that women wear 20 percent of their clothes 80 percent of the time," she says. Where does that leave the other vTC 80 percent? She suggests dejunking the closet and passing the unworn to a friend or the Salvation Army. "We all recognize the reliables in our wardrobes, the ones that make us look great and feel good. Those clothes are what defines our style and we should build on them. All we need to keep in touch with fashion are a few key items," she says.
"Nothing updates like shoes. Take a classic pantsuit. A change of shoes in the newest style makes it totally new."
"Woman's Face," her latest book on skin and makeup, also preaches simplification. "The biggest impact, and the part of the face that often gets the least attention are the eyebrows. Cleaning them up or shaping them makes a dramatic difference. And the quickest way to update is lip color. You can figure it out for yourself and spend as much or as little as you want."
Gross will be glad to talk makeup and sign books when she comes to Bibelot at Woodholme, 7: 30 p.m. Sept. 16.
Cosmetics expert Marilyn Vines, representative for African Pride products, is coming to town to offer hair- and skin-care tips. Along with beauty advice, she is talking up awareness of the Birthing Project, a program to fight infant mortality in the African-American community. The project's success is based on volunteer "sister-friends" who help guide mothers-to-be through pregnancy and a baby's first year.
Vines will be at Hopkins Beauty Two on Pennsylvania Avenue from 3 p.m. to 4: 30 p.m. Sept. 9. Call 410-462-6373 for information.
Pub Date: 8/31/97