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The Look

B.W. COOK --

July 28, 2000

"I want something that is feminine, classic and most importantly,

something that I feel special wearing," says Newport Beach socialite and

fashion trend-setter Cerise Feeley.

The very stylish as well as style-conscious woman agreed to put aside

her duties as wife and mother for a couple of hours this week to inspect

the fall fashions at two of Newport's premier purveyors of clothing:

Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale's at Fashion Island.

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The objective: rediscover the perfect little black dress.

"What I want is the perfect dress for the perfect evening out with my

husband," continued Feeley, sorting through a varied array of dresses

pulled for her inspection by Megan Thompson Hand at Neiman Marcus.

Looking at the lines available for fall and winter, it was at once

apparent that the little black dress is no longer little. Actually, the

little black dress is no longer anything restricted by size, shape or

particular design.

The little black dress is, in fact, short, long, in-between, low-cut,

high-necked, backless, sideless, formal, informal, ruffled,

straight-lined, A-lined and sidelined. In other words, there is literally

something for everyone and every taste.

Fashion today is all about the individual woman. And because there are

as many different types of women as there are types of designers, and

imaginations, ideas and dreams interpreted by these designers, the plate

is virtually overflowing with choice.

This is a good thing, say the retail mavens marketing fall fashion.

"Fashion comes and goes so quickly. Styles change, colors change,

season to season, moment to moment," says Christina Cox of

Bloomingdale's. "The black dress, however, never goes out of style."

The consensus among the models and the experts is simply that it is

not the number that counts, but rather how the particular garment fits,

that is important. Make no mistake, however, garment merchandisers know

they will sell more clothes to more women when they fit into a smaller

size than they think they can wear. It's an old trick. But it works.

Next Friday, The Look will show you how to add to your black dress

with the right accessories. From million-dollar diamond necklaces to a

$75 wrap, the look is as individual as you are.

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