Facebook Twitter

WITH OR WITHOUT MOVIE STARS, STYLE REIGNS IN 2 SUMPTUOUS BOOKS

SHARE WITH OR WITHOUT MOVIE STARS, STYLE REIGNS IN 2 SUMPTUOUS BOOKS

If there was any stabilizing force on fashion a year ago, it was a slim volume called "The Power of Style," by Annette Tapert and Diana Edkins (Crown, 1994).

Designers like Gianni Versace and Karl Lagerfeld, stumped on where to take fashion, found inspiration in the styles of the 14 women the book chronicles, such as Mona, countess of Bismarck; Elsie de Wolfe and Jacqueline Onassis.Left out were movie stars, because, the foreword explained, "More often than not, the stars whose names are synonymous with style really didn't have it."

That is a view vehemently contested by Patty Fox in her own sumptuous chronicle, "Star Style: Hollywood Legends as Fashion Icons" (Angel City Press, Santa Monica, Calif.). It will be published this month.

Fox chose 10 women to profile, from Gloria Swanson to the unexpected Dolores Del Rio and Doris Day. "These celebrities rarely listened to the studio bosses when it came to shaping their own images," Fox's foreword states. "Unwilling to lose control, they collaborated with studio designers, sometimes actually sketching clothing ideas and selecting fabrics and accessories."

Fox has worked for the past five years on the Academy Awards ceremony, helping to coordinate the dress of nominees and presenters.

"What I would like to see happening now is the designer working one-on-one, more as an artist," she said.