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MALL PATROL : DUELING DISPLAYS OF FASHION.

Byline: Barbara De Witt

Spring is in the air and on the runway. All over town, stores and malls are holding fashion shows to give you the latest looks in prom attire, business suits, poolside suits and Mother's Day ensembles.

Competition is so stiff that stores are even holding fashion shows in the same malls at the same time. That was the case on Saturday at Fashion Square in Sherman Oaks where customers had to decide on a career show presented by Macy's and Vogue magazine or an event at Bloomingdale's with celebrity model Florence Henderson.

At the Macy's show, which focused on I.N.C. sportswear, shoppers saw the latest in midpriced career and weekend wear. The color palette was mostly black, tan and white, which caused a few spectators, like Ruth Padwa of Woodland Hills, to complain that there wasn't enough color. ``I look terrible in beige,'' she lamented. But her friend Susan Loeb of Tarzana thought the basics, especially a navy trench coat, were chic.

In case you missed the show, the trends I spotted were sunglasses on top of the head again; colorful sweaters tied around shoulders and waists again; French manicures on toes (that's a new one); high-heeled sandals worn without stockings (stock up on fake tan cream); and pumps with square toes and Cuban heels for the office.

At Bloomingdale's show the focus was on petite fashions, where the ``Brady Bunch'' mom stole the show in a stunning navy dinner suit by Kasper that had tiny pearls and sequins sewn on the cuffs and collar.

Last year it was blue nail polish for grown-up women. Then men started wearing it so women had to find another trend. Now it's color combos on one hand, and French manicures in two shades of pink. You'll find the kits for all this fashion fun at junior outposts like Contempo, Wet Seal and Rampage, as well as drug stores. While you're at the latter, check out Fing'rs, the company that manufactures stick-on acrylic nails. They now have nail tattoos, glitter, paint kits and nails already painted, for about $4 each. And in case you didn't get the word, long nails are back with other '80s fads.

On a recent shopping expedition to Macy's at the Promenade in Woodland Hills, it was clear that colorful sandals have also made a comeback. They have Candie's in pastel suedes, Dr. Scholl's ``exercise sandals'' and coming soon are Keds' version of the same sandals. The shoes also were spotted at Robinsons-May and Nordstrom.
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Copyright 1997, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:L.A. LIFE
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 24, 1997
Words:421
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