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The Return of the Topsider


'Sider House Rules
After several seasons of overpriced orthopedic shoes, the kick du jour has graduated from working-class desert boot (think last season's Clarks) to Ivy League moccasin: Top-Siders, the classic eighties deck shoes, are turning up on the feet of the same crowd that's turning up the collars of Lacoste polos. Fashionable art fiends frolicking in the waterfall sculpture at P.S. 1 have been pairing the shoes with high-water chinos and vintage grandpa-style wool-flannel shorts. At Paragon (867 Broadway, at 18th Street; 212-255-8036), the 65-year-old Sperry "Authentic Original" recently edged out the hip-hop Timberland on the store's best-seller list. And thanks to the Waspy shoe's conservative price ($65), downtown ironists will have money left over for a few more pairs of argyle socks.

Pot Heads
It used to be the flowers that set a professional's arrangement apart from a deli-bought bundle, but now, with florists turning up their noses at the standard-issue glass vase, it's the container itself. Lotus (212-463-0555) anchors bouquets in a meadow of wheatgrass (pictured). Bloom (212-620-5666) sends arrangements in cabbages and squash to gardeners; in saucepans and salad bowls to chefs; in coffee cans to caffeine addicts. Prudence Designs (212-691-1356) delivers roses in buckets stamped fire from the hardware store. And Elizabeth Ryan (212-995-1111) uses juice glasses to house hydrangeas, poppies, and miniature calla lilies. "People want something they can hold on to," says Ryan -- not something that collects dust on their cubicle shelves.

Paper or Plastic -- or Pony?
Everyone knows it's not the promise of cocktails and a free dinner that guarantees a desirable crowd at a publicity event -- it's the promise of a well-stocked goody bag. But now competition for the best door prize has escalated to the point where the bags themselves -- normally paper throwaways -- are part of the bounty. At a fête for furrier J. Mendel for Legend, a mink cuff came stuffed inside a canvas Searle beach bag. At Motorola's launch of its V. series, a mini phone was tucked inside the pocket of a gunmetal-gray LeSportsac. For certain brand-name satchels, however, no fillers are required. An empty custom-made Burberry carry-all was the spoil at a New York City Ballet gala, and the attendees of a recent Bottega Veneta collection preview walked away with a $560 tote -- already engraved with their initials, lest anyone attempt to swipe an extra for a "friend."

Jangle All the Way
Aimee Soleimanzadeh, the woman responsible for outfitting trendy torsos in her e.vil T-shirts, is now making a foray into forearm adornment. Stacks of Soleimanzadeh's gold bracelets have landed at Kirna Zabête (96 Greene Street; 212-941-9656) just in time for a 14-karat fall. The bangles look like they'd jangle but are silent because they're made of shiny plastic, not metal. An armful of these takes care of both the gold-rush trend and -- with a nod to Madonna's black rubber bracelets -- the eighties revival. The price harks back to another era as well: A cluster runs just $25.


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