March 19, 1990 12:00 PM


Madonna turned corsets into a craze. Don Johnson made it cool to shun socks. Will Kathleen Turner lift the slip business out of the hamper? As the explosive Maggie in the Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Turner struts across the stage in a 1950s-style lacy Charmeuse slip by costume designer Patricia Zipprodt—custom-made for more than $1,000. Zipprodt’s challenge was to come up with a form-fitting yet non-restricting design—Turner does her entire first-act monologue in the slip—but the eye-grabbing detail is the color. “I was sick of the white slip in the original play,” she says, “so I checked with Tennessee up in heaven, and he said lavender would be all right.” Lavender also happens to be a popular lingerie shade right now—for camisoles, tap pants and teddies. “Sales of slips have dipped,” says Intimate Fashion News editor Virginia Stiles, “but this play will make them look sexy again.”


Blue makeup is the latest badge of counterculture couture. “These days, more and more ordinary girls wear red lipstick and have platinum blond hair,” says Irma Zandl, president of Xtreme Inc., a New York City-based youth market consulting and research firm. “So girls on the fringe are looking for a more unnatural color.” Blue nail polish has been popping up on the club scene, and blue lipstick is a trademark of former Technotronic member Felly. But the ultimate role model could be Mrs. Simpson, Fox-TV’s animated blue-haired mom. “What other color should a three-foot beehive be?” asks The Simpsons’ creator Matt Groening. “Besides, it goes well with nuclear-yellow skin.”


With boosters like Roseanne Barr, Brigitte Nielsen and Cher, tattoos are suddenly making a 1990s fashion mark, becoming the bodyworks successor to the multipierced ear. “Rock bands like Guns n’ Roses have made tattoos a big thing with kids,” says Professional Tattoo Artists Guild president “Big” Joe Kaplan, whose clients-come-lately include a lot of professionals as well. “I recently put the scales of justice on a lawyer’s shoulder,” he says. And now the timid can fake it with tattoo fashions. Designer Betsey Johnson (who has a lightning bolt tattooed above her left breast) offers skintight bodysuits, dresses and jackets emblazoned with the work of L.A. tattoo artist Mark Mahoney. “Tattoos,” she says, “are a personal statement. It doesn’t matter what other people think anymore.”


Nostalgic for miniature cars, cowboys and other “exuberant, promotional toys” of his ’60s youth, Des Moines entrepreneur George kotalik tracked some down and began affixing them to 150 styles of Toy Ties. From a production line that started in his kitchen in 1988, Kotalik’s business has grown to where this year he expects to sell $500,000 worth of ties through Bloomingdale’s, mail catalogs and boutiques. Recently, Kotalik added a children’s line of clip-ons and bolos, priced at $15 and up, compared with $24.95 for dads versions. So far, no celeb has put him on the fashion map, but Kotalik has received thank-yous from Johnny Carson and David Letterman.

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