That certain 'je ne sais cool'

STYLE FILE

March 02, 2003|By Maria Blackburn | Maria Blackburn,Sun Staff

Don't go to Ooh la la because it's one of only a few retail establishments in the bar and restaurant-laden O'Donnell Square section of Canton. Go because it's cool.

Stephanie Grandjean's little store sells an eclectic collection of affordable new and vintage clothing for men and women amid a dazzling array of kitsch art and furnishings. Need a little something new to wear to Burger Night at Looney's? Try a $34 denim dress by Elaine Perlou on for size. Going to brunch at Helen's Garden with your boyfriend's parents? Make your intentions known with a Leather Rock red studded heart belt. Heading out for margaritas at Nacho Mama's? Do the lounge lizard thing in a ruffled mint tuxedo shirt for $45.

"People stop in because they need a shirt to wear out that night," said Grandjean. "I try to keep things affordable, because I know they're not going to be passing things down to their kids."

Grandjean carries Paul Frank, Ben Sherman for men and Sinequanone for women. Some of her vintage finds come from France, where Grandjean goes several times a year to visit family.

Ooh la la is located at 2904 O'Donnell St. in Canton. 410-327-9331.

Reflecting on lips

Forget about lip color that looks muted, mellow or reserved. Calvin Klein's new lipstick is all about shine. How much shine? Think new Corvette, gleaming candy apples and red patent leather. Think of those leggy band-members in the Robert Palmer Addicted to Love video.

The company's new Lac-quer Finish Lip Color comes in three glistening shades ($17, below left): pink, red and cranberry. Balance the look this spring with softly polished luminescent eyes. We suggest Calvin Klein's Liquid Pearl for Eyes ($16) in opaline or mercury (right).

Calvin Klein cosmetics are available at Nordstrom and at www.sephora.com.

The very tasteful Mr. Lauren

How did a kid from the Bronx named Ralph Lifshitz create a fashion empire that is the very epitome of crisp, upper-crust, blonde-haired, blue-eyed Americana?

Find out by reading a new biography entitled Ralph Lauren, The Man, The Vision, The Style by Colin McDowell (Rizzoli International, $40). You won't find much dish on the inner workings of the Polo empire here, but you will find lots of lovely photographs of the designer's creations for men and women and his tasteful home furnishings.

Or, if you're looking to read something a little more unauthorized, be sure to pick up Genuine Authentic: The Real Life of Ralph Lauren by Michael Gross (Harper-Collins, $25.95).

Gross, the author of the memorable Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women, reveals Lauren as a philandering billionaire who is seen by some as a narcissist, a tyrant and an insecure ditherer.

At least both authors agree on Lauren's impeccable taste.

Give your silver collection a little polish

High labor and production costs have led to the near disappearance of fine Mexican sterling silver jewelry. Through March 9 at Heirloom Jewels in Baltimore, you can choose from among a dazzling array of the craft, created by some of the most important sterling silver designers of the mid-1900s.

The jewelry is from the private collection of Lolly Commanday and features work by such designers as William Spratling and Los Castillo. Styles range from ancient pre-Columbian and Aztec designs, to tribal and even baroque and many of the pieces convey the Indians' love and respect for nature. Pieces of the collection cost $400 to $5,500 and are available for purchase.

Heirloom Jewels is located in the Village of Cross Keys, 5100 Falls Road. 410-323-0100.

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