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Q: I have a formal event this weekend, but that all-purpose black dress from last season is passé, and trying to find another that fits just right has proved to be mission impossible. Any suggestions?

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A: Yeah. Call it couture-to-go: designers who'll custom-make dresses in as little as a day, without sacrificing quality and style. These made-to-measure masters have tailors and a range of fabrics on the premises to ensure that your creation will be ready promptly, sans hefty price tag and rush fee. Rubin and Alik Singer's chic, minimalist Lower East Side atelier-shop (163 Orchard Street; 473-5922) has a wide range of styles, from Mugler-like sophisticated cocktail suits to avant-garde dresses in taffeta, chiffon, or silk, and this father-son team of third-generation designers has an eye for detail and fit that's attracted clients like Danielle Steel and Whoopi Goldberg. They'll deliver a dress in two or three days for $500 to $1,600, depending on fabric and style. Can't make it downtown? Stop by Ménage à Trois (799 Madison Avenue, near 67th Street; 396-2514). This attitude-free, family-run boutique has a plentiful selection of strappy, bias-cut satin and silk flowy gowns with understated elegance, and lace camisole tops with full skirts to mix and match. The designing threesome will even make a shawl to complete that pour nuit look and promise a gown in three days for $650 to $1,550. If you're really pressed for time, head to Pierre Garroudi (139 Thompson Street; 475-2333). He'll make a dress in 24 hours, guaranteed -- just bring in a picture of your dream getup or choose from his own evening designs, and this downtown Edward Scissorhands will do his magic starting at $900.


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