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FASHION THURSDAY : MOVE OVER BARBIE, HERE COME ROMY AND MICHELE.

Byline: Barbara De Witt Daily News Fashion Editor

The next big fashion trend is straight out of your preteen fantasies.

It's like Barbie's wardrobe. A cool ensemble for every moment of her busy life, with matching mules and cutesy accessories. Remember those plastic diamond rings?

If you've forgotten the details of Barbie's fashion stance in the late '60s, it's all detailed for you in ``Romy and Michele's High School Reunion,'' the trendiest fashion flick since ``Clueless.''

In this case of blonde leading the blonde, Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow star in the movie opening today as two live dress-up dolls with ``Clueless'' tastes on minimum-wage budgets. Without sugar daddies to dress them up, Kudrow's character designs couture clothes and whips them up on the sewing machine.

These babes are stylin' in super short, body-hugging dresses selected by costume director Mona May (she worked on ``Clueless'' and its spinoff TV series) who was inspired by fashions on the runways of London, Paris and Berlin.

``Some of the looks you'll see in the movie are now in stores, but when we started making the film more than a year ago, the only suitable fashions I found were on European runways,'' May said. ``I bought some original designs, particularly from Christian Lacroix, and then redesigned them to fit differently - to be shorter or tighter - in other words, less serious and more humorous than originally intended.''

The designer said she got ideas for the costumes from dance clubs, fashion trade shows, boutiques on Melrose Avenue and thrift stores on Ventura Boulvard in Studio City and Sherman Oaks.

``The Valley thrift stores were a great source for accessories, including the vintage cherry necklace and earrings that Lisa wears. And I also bought several of the little purses,'' she said, ``but we often camped them up with spray paint and glued-on rhinestones. It was the same with the shoes. None of the brightly colored mules you see in the film were bought that way, although you'll find colorful shoes in stores this season.''

One of the fashion trends spotted in the film are big cocktail rings worn on several fingers. May said they were designed by an L.A. jeweler named Trina Tarantino, but you can find real gem look-alikes at Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue and on-the-cheap plastic versions at Rampage and Contempo Casuals.

Although May came close to making Sorvino and Kudrow's characters look like dress-up dolls, she drew the line at the transparent fashion trend. ``They just aren't flattering,'' said May. ``They're too trendy and cross the line into bimbo territory.''

It's a fine line between Barbie and bimbo. Even makeup artist Collier Strong was challenged.

``My concept was Barbie doll, but the characters have different personalities, and the makeup had to reflect that. For instance, Sorvino's character is stronger and a tad bossy, so we used darker, richer lipstick and eye shadow; while Kudrow's character is more feminine, so she's in lots of frosty pinks. But both girls have lots of thick black eyeliner, fake lashes and arched brows, which are in keeping with the Barbie doll look.''

Brand names? Strong isn't a gossip, but he spilled. The makeup artist said he used Kiehl's skin products (available at Barney's and Fred Segal), Christian Dior eye shadow, Prescriptives cosmetics and lipstick by Mac, Christian Dior and Chanel.

The nail polish is kid stuff - Hard Candy, Urban Decay and Krazee Kandee (found in beauty supply stores), painted in alternating colors on fingers and toes. According to May, it was the stars' idea and a trend we'll probably see on the beach this summer.

Hair was a big issue in the film, too. According to hairstylist Richard Marin of Cloutier Agency in Los Angeles, ``These were party girls, and all they care about is hair, makeup and clothes ... and a bad-hair day would have meant their hair looked normal.''

So, to achieve the big hair 'dos, Marin was heavy-handed with Bumble & Bumble pomade and Redken and Loreal hair spray.

``All the hair is their own, done with lots of teasing - except for the Madonna ponytail on Sorvino,'' said Marin.

For those fashion fans who want to follow Romy and Michele's shopping strategy, check out the designer boutiques along Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and Max Studio on Main Street in Santa Monica ... or wait for fall merchandise to hit the malls. Those doll dresses, with feather and fur trims, will be offered by a number of affordable designers, including Betsey Johnson and Bonnie Strauss.

FASHION RULES

Short, sassy dresses

Big hair

Alternating colors of nail polish

Bare legs and high-heeled mules

Girlie accessories

Just say `No' to these trends

In this season of retro styles and cheesy chic, tacky and tasteless trends abound. After endless fashion shows and mall patrols, Miz Hot Tips has weeded out the fashion faux pas to avoid harassment by the fashion police.

Here's her no-no list suitable for clipping and pasting on the closet door:

10. Belly button jewelry. Body piercing is so passe.

9. Nail polish on guys. Is nothing sacred?

8. Chanel's resurrection of big hair. Even Connie Stevens has changed her 'do.

7. Shoulder pads. Sure, they make your hips look smaller, but who cares when you have no neck?

6. See-through clothes. There was a reason somebody invented taffeta slips.

5. Fat lips. Elizabeth Taylor and Cheryl Tiegs proved that a big chest outweighs collagen injections any day.

4. Clear vinyl shoes. Who wants to see bunions and heel calluses?

3. Pale pink blush. Nobody blushes lighter than their complexion.

2. Velvet swimsuits. That fattening fabric has been done to death.

1. Fishtail hems. Dry cleaners must have invented this unflattering style that drags on the ground.

CAPTION(S):

8 Photos, 2 Boxes

Photo: (1--Color) Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow star as a pair of real-life Barbie dolls who indulge in their preteen fashion fastasies.

(2--Color) Feather boas are back, along with other '70s fads. If you can't find them yet, try the little girls' department at Nordstrom, where they've got them in pink and lilac, or try a thrift shop.

(3--Color) To reflect Kudrow's ditsy character, the costume designer added cherry jewelry from resale boutiques along Ventura Boulevard, then glued more cherries on the toes of her Charles David sandals.

(4--5--Color) To get in the spirit of the film, paint your nails in alternating colors like Sorvino, above, and add a funky cocktail ring.

(6--7--Color) no caption (Lipstick, Nail polish)

(8) Girls who want to look like Romy and Michele need painted toes and sexy

sandals, like these by Grendha, priced at about $40 in department stores.

Box: (1--Color) FASHION RULES (See Text)

(2) Just say `no' to these trends (See Text)
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Copyright 1997, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:L.A. LIFE
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 24, 1997
Words:1118
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