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Make your hemlines hip again, and more . . .

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Chop Shop

In the past few years, a certain complacency has settled over the fashion-conscious: They have begun to consider the hemline question obsolete. But this spring, the mini has returned with a vengeance, bringing with it one nagging question: Does my skirt look too . . . last year? Sadly, the answer all too often is yes, it does. For some, the solution lies in a sharp pair of scissors. "Last year, I felt so cute in those A-line skirts," said Gloria M. Wong, a freelance writer. "Now I put them on, and they just look dowdy." And so Wong enlisted her friend Andrea Linett, Lucky magazine's fashion director, and they hacked her Katayone Adeli corduroy skirt to right above the knee. "You don't necessarily have to chop into a miniskirt," Linnett explains, "but the raw edge makes a skirt look cooler. It's very devil-may-care." You can take what you save on tailoring and ask your waxer to go just a little bit higher.

Bust a Move

Artist Lisa Yuskavage has raised more than a few eyebrows with her paintings and drawings of scantily clad Lolita- meets-Pamela Anderson coquettes. Now those women bold enough to risk resembling her busty seductresses -- and attract the men who fantasize about them -- can don one of the limited-edition tops that will bear her images. The cotton T-shirts feature one of two Yuskavage babes and are produced in a run of 300 each to benefit nonprofit arts organization White Columns, where they're already on sale. "We're a charitable organization and Lisa is charitably helping us out," says Paul Ha, executive director of the nonprofit, where Yuskavage is a board member. Available in a variety of colors (from label Three Dots), the shirts are priced at a charitable $45-$60.
aric chen

Spectator Fashion

Fashion has always pleased the eye, but lately there's been a smattering of styles that tease it as well. The recent surge in trompe l'oeil looks has fashionistas doing double takes. Adornment no longer comes in the shape of grosgrain ribbons or starchy collars; it comes, rather, in pictures of these things. It's not unlike the tuxedo T-shirts that were so popular in the eighties: bow tie, cummerbund, a full strip of buttons all on one Hanes beefy-T. In Marc Jacobs's fall line, simple jersey dresses find ribbon-ties stitched right into the fabric. Down the front of Jane Mayle's Deauville top, also for fall, is stitched-on detailing resembling a placard. Blue Farrier ($184 at Language, 238 Mulberry St.) wraps a white T in yards of patriotic, virtual ribbon.
joel ferree

Smart Set
Edmundo Castillo

On June 14, fashion watchers will wait expectantly to hear the winners of the Perry Ellis prizes for new talent at the CFDA awards, which anoint those emerging talents destined for great things. This year, everybody's favorite contender in the accessories category is Edmundo Castillo, a baby-faced Puerto Rican shoe designer. "I originally thought I'd be a pilot. I was on my way to aeronautical school in Daytona Beach," Castillo says. But his love of flying was defeated by his love of design -- this is a guy who remembers, at the age of 6, being deeply upset when his sister declared her Charles Jourdan pumps too uncomfortable. "I wanted to tell her, But they look so good!" he explains. So he flew on to design school, and after spending some time working in a shoe store, in 1989 Castillo began designing Donna Karan's shoe collection (he still consults on Karan's men's line). Last year, he started his own collection, and these days orders on his fall line (which includes a stiletto made from stingray skin, and beautifully fringed knee-high boots) are being delivered to Bergdorf Goodman, Jeffrey, and Geraldine, the tiny shoe boutique on Mott Street. "Shoes," Castillo says, "should be like makeup for the feet."


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