Taking a big step in shoe designShoe designer Todd Welsh...

STYLE FILE

January 10, 1999

Taking a big step in shoe design

Shoe designer Todd Welsh wants men to think more creatively when shopping for shoes and not pick the same old tasseled loafers on co-worker's feet.

"Men are loosening up and trying more fashion-forward shoe styles, but there is still a lot of hesitation," says Welsh (left), the 41-year-old New York maverick who has been selling shoes for two decades and designing them since 1992.

Wholesale sales for 1998 are just over the million-dollar mark, and celebrities -- including Will Smith, baseball star David Justice and singer Elton John -- have discovered the line.

The latest collection offers sleek styles and funky shapes for cutting-edge customers and more "regular-looking" shoes for others -- although even those are likely to have subtle touches such as unusual eyelets or stitching.

They are sold in several Nordstrom, Macy's and Bloomingdale's stores and in tony boutiques across the country. Prices are usually less than $200.

-- Dallas Morning News

Chew your troubles away

Imagine the money saved, the angst avoided.

Who needs talk therapy, drug therapy or aromatherapy when genuine help comes in the form of the Peace of Mind gum ball?

At only 17 cents a dose -- two small gum balls -- it would be hard to find a cheaper cure for the ills of modern life. On the other hand, as gum goes, it's expensive. And it doesn't come close to the long-lasting bubble-ability of sugarless peppermint Bubble Yum.

Peace of Mind gum is available at Origins cosmetics stores and Origins counters in department stores. The magically soothing ingredients in these gum balls are basil, eucalyptus and peppermint. Fortunately, they taste minty, not basily.

Cosmetics giant Estee Lauder (Origins is part of that empire) dreamed this gimmick up, and spokeswoman Margaret Jen says it's "hard to keep it in stock."

A glass jar of 220 is $18.50; the travel-size 20-gumball pack is $3.50.

-- Chicago Tribune

Children's chic

Donna Karan, a baby boomer in good standing, has a new "baby." The designer (inset) said she gave birth, so to speak, to a new infant and toddler line because "everyone around me is having babies." The clothes, which will be in stores this month, will reflect what the designer calls "the esthetics of the parents -- nothing fussy, nothing cutesy."

Although the line is not meant to be a downsized version of DKNY, the look is definitely urban, featuring sweat-shirt dresses, jumpsuits emblazoned with the Statue of Liberty, hooded nylon athletic jackets, drawstring pants, jean jackets, oxford-cloth diaper covers and T-shirt dresses. The most expensive item is a washable silk dress at $60.

The line, which will carry a "dkny" logo, will be sold at Bloomingdale's, Lord & Taylor, Macy's West, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.

-- New York Times

Canned boxers

Joe Boxer, the New York company notorious for its outrageous undies and ad campaigns, is at it again, this time with a vending machine that taunts passersby.

"Looks like you need some underwear," it teases, the voice activated by motion sensors.

The vending machines, which sell boxer shorts and T-shirts in pop-top cans, are operated with a credit card. After the transaction is complete, the customer is applauded or treated to some other game- show-type sound effect. (Prices range from $14 to $18.)

The company plans to roll out 100 more of the wisecracking panty peddlers this year, placing them in train stations, health clubs and airports across the country.

-- Los Angeles Times

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