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Graffiti plea; charmed; Ed Klein and more . . .


Baby Love
Courtney Love has nipped, tucked, and otherwise moved on, but this season, her once-signature baby-doll dress has returned -- an homage, perhaps, to the early nineties (which, of course, were themselves an homage to the early sixties). Hemlines have been migrating north for several seasons now, but during the recent fall collections, waistlines followed and skirts got looser. The look turned up at places like Marc Jacobs, Prada, and Fendi (pictured), where Karl Lagerfeld worked in frills but avoided being precious with a mod, Courrèges-style approach. If you're looking to doll yourself up, wear the dresses with very adult, sophisticated accessories. Too much blush, hair too perky, even an errant ankle sock, and you'll wind up looking too much like Baby Jane.

Graffiti Plea
When Stephen Sprouse took spray paint to classic Louis Vuitton bags for the venerable house's spring collection, a luxury beast was born. The bags have the cachet of Vuitton, plus street appeal that keeps them from looking too duty-free. Guards hovered over them during their brief appearance at the Vuitton store opening this winter, and hungry eyes tracked Vanity Fair fashion director Anne McNally's graffiti'd carryall during the New York fall collections. For the rest of is, it's a real conundrum: You can't get one. And if you can, by the time you do, they just might be less cool. "They won't arrive until late April," says a salesman at the Fifth Avenue store, "and we already have a very long wait list." It's even worse at the SoHo store, where the wait list is closed. It's simply too long.

They're clunky and not particularly keyboard-friendly, but charm bracelets are nonetheless making their way onto young wrists all over the city. The best ones come from a mother or grandmother who would collect them from beaux and add on charms at significant occasions. "My grandmother got this for Valentine's Day one year," says Rebecca Glashow, a 25-year-old television executive, of her charm bracelet. "She was a swinging lady, and I can't help but want to carry on the tradition." New versions have been spotted as accessories in Alice Roi's latest collection (hung with big dangly chairs), while Patch NYC's version is dripping with colorful hearts ($65 at Hedra Prue, 281 Mott Street; 212-343-9205). Go ahead and buy one yourself, without waiting for a suitor.

Smart Set
Ed Klein
Klein's of Monticello is a store at the unassuming corner of Orchard and Delancey Streets that Ed Klein -- a man with the old-fashioned air of a retailer who knows his customers' sizes and the dates of their grandsons' bar mitzvahs by heart -- has owned for 25 years. Originally a children's store, he's converted it, over the years, to a high-end women's boutique, packed with European labels like Max Mara and Sonia Rykiel. Earlier this month, Pegasus, a fashion conglomerate that owns Miguel Adrover, Pamela Dennis, and Daryl K, bought a major stake in the store when its chairman, Stephen Ruzow, realized his wife and her friends were making regular pilgrimages to the Lower East Side. As Orchard Street gentrifies (like the rest of us, Klein still can't get a table at 71 Clinton Fresh Foods), Klein has been acquiring adjacent properties. "We were in the right space, and it's the right time," he says happily. With the backing of Pegasus, he'll expand into the 6,000 square feet he's amassed -- an ex-Blimpies, for example, should be filled with four-ply cashmere by Labor Day -- but out of respect to the neighborhood culture, the store will still be closed on Saturdays.


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