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CLASSIC ELEGANCE BLACK AND WHITE - AND PLENTY OF COLOR - ARE MAKING THIS YEAR'S PROM SCENE.

Byline: Barbara De Witt Fashion Editor

Siren or Cinderella?

It's the annual dilemma of prom season, and this year is no different. Only the role models have changed.

In the past, it's been stars like Marilyn Monroe (strapless gowns with fox stoles), Molly Ringwald (Cinderella pink) and Madonna (underwear- inspired). This spring, area high school seniors want to look like the navel-baring pop singer Britney Spears or actress Julia Roberts on Oscar night for their last dance, say retailers and prom-goers.

``I'm going for the Julia Roberts look,'' says Lena Braham, a senior at Canoga Park High School, ``with a black-and-white dress, but mine is strapless and sort of a tapered A-line with black satin panels on the sides, and I'm wearing long gloves.''

According to Kelley Potter, a member of the prom committee at Valencia High School, ``The Julia Roberts style in black and white was certainly an influence in our prom fashion show, but the other popular look was tight and slinky with spaghetti straps, plunging to the belly button or a long skirt with the midriff revealed. The models wore belly rings to match, just like Britney Spears ... and yes, the school is allowing it.''

The hottest color in the show was orange, says Potter, but she and her friends plan on wearing lilac to their prom, which will be held at the Sony Studios backlot in Hollywood.

The Valencia High girls are dressing up, but they plan on wearing their hair down, so tiaras won't be an issue. However they'll have some sparkle from star-shaped rhinestone tattoos, a temporary tattoo novelty created by Swarovski for stars to wear to the Academy Awards last year and now in most clothing and accessory stores.

Milena Yesayeva, a senior at James Monroe High School in North Hills, gave a similar fashion report. ``A lot of girls will wear lavender dresses - the really slim style with an open back and mermaid tail, but some of us still want to wear a Cinderella gown ... after all, I'll never get another chance to wear it. I'll be too old,'' she explains.

Her ball gown with tulle skirt will be coffee-colored, she says, and she hopes it will stand out against all the pastels she expects to see at the Skirball Cultural Center, where her prom and dinner will be held. And like girls at Canoga Park High who will be partying at the Biltmore downtown, she plans on wearing her hair up, accented with a tiara. But she says she and many girls will also wear a rhinestone tattoo in a butterfly design on one shoulder.

And like Cinderella and ``Erin Brockovich'' star Roberts, girls will be wearing long gloves dyed to match their dresses.

Besides orange, lilac and black-and-white designs, retailers are finding a lot of interest in all pastels as well as red, an indication that all-black and metallic silver and gold designs are passe.

At Windsor boutique in Glendale, assistant manager Sonia Montero says girls usually shop in groups and usually ask for the lavender dresses in her window, but the key phrase, she says, is ``something lavender and shimmery.'' Monteo says girls also ask for black-and-white gowns like the one Julia Roberts wore, and then they try on dozens before coming back with their parents to make the final selection - which is usually long and strapless.

Gary's Tuxedo shops, which participated in several of the school fashion shows, and Gingiss Formalwear, which provided fashions for the recent Seventeen magazine-sponsored prom show at Glendale Galleria, agree that there's a strong trend to traditional black tuxedos with black vests instead of cummerbunds.

However they do offer alternatives, and the Regis Philbin look - colored shirt with matching long tie - got a lot of attention at Monroe High.

At Canoga Park High, it was snappy accessories such as a gray fedora, canes and spectator-style wing tips instead of the traditional black tuxedo pump that caught the girls' eyes, and at Valencia High School, there's talk of boys wearing animal-print tuxedos.

Girls may want their dates to be trend-setters, but in the end, says Jaime Bugarin, manager of Gingiss Formalwear in Glendale, ``Boys usually come in and ask for the most popular look at the Oscars, and this year it's a long black tie worn with a white pleated dress shirt, black vest, and long coat.''

Regardless of the styles, girls still expect their dates to bring flowers that match their ensembles - and a limo to whisk them off to the ball.

PROM CHECKLIST

Colors: Lavender, pink, orange or black-and-white.

Gown style: Slinky and skin-revealing or classic ball gown.

Flowers: Wrist corsages or nosegays of red or pink roses.

Hair: Up-dos with curls and tiaras.

Jewelry: Dainty chokers, diamond stud earrings and rhinestone tattoos.

Purses: Glittery clutch styles to match dress or small bags with handles.

Accessories: Strappy stiletto sandals, organza stoles, long gloves.

Transportation: Limousine or rented luxury car.

Finances: $150 to $300 for gowns, plus accessories, hair style, manicure and makeup application. Tuxedo rentals are about $100, depending on style and accessories.

Prom tickets: $130 to $150 per couple.

- B. D.

CAPTION(S):

6 photos, box

Photo:

(1 -- cover -- color) Anna Patrikian of Crescenta Valley High School, left, goes for a fairy-tale gown with tulie insets by Morgan & Co., $189 from Windsor; white Andrea Savopolos of Corona del Mar High School models a paisley and peach tulle style by Scene, $149 at J. C. Penney; and Nazanin Mandighomi of Valencia High School wears an orange incandescent design, $152 at Jessica McClintock, all from the Glendale Gallleria.

(2 -- color) Orange sizzles on Valencia High School student Nazanin Mandighomi, in a gown from Jessica McClintock. She clowns with Glendora High School students David Henkels, left, and Rolando Cadenas, both in tuxedos from Gingiss.

(3) Tiara from Jessica McClintock

John Lazar/Staff Photographer

(4 -- color) Genelle Campbell of Maranatha High School in Sierra Madre, left, chooses a pale lilac satin gown with matching tulle stole, $158, from Cachet boutique, while Andrea Savopolos of Corona del Mar High School goes for a trendy two-piece halter ensemble in purple by ZumZum, $186, from Windsor at Glendale Galleria.

(5 -- color) Andrea Savopolos likes the look of Julia Roberts in a black satin gown with white trim, $240 from Privilege, while David Henkels complements her ensemble with a tuxedo by Gingiss.

Michael Owen Baker/Staff Photographer

(6 -- color) Rose nosegay courtesy of Mark's Garden in Sherman Oaks.

John Lazar/Staff Photographer

Box: Prom checklist (see text)
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:L.A. Life
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 26, 2001
Words:1078
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