Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Wrap yourself in a fresh look

Ponchos, a '70s stalwart, are back, joined by capes, shrugs and shawls

By Marilyn Bauer
Enquirer staff writer

Jessica Johnson Jessica Johnson, 20, of Kenwood models a multicolored wool-acrylic poncho, $85, from Bella Donna, Hyde Park.
(Brandi Stafford photo)

Jessica Johnson was late. She had gone to the University of Cincinnati, where she studies psychology, that morning, then on to her job teaching kids karate.

Now she was caught in bad-weather traffic, but it gave us a chance to talk to her mother and manager, Daneen.

"Jessica's been modeling for 10 years," says Daneen, who was mistaken for her 20-year-old daughter in the newsroom.

"She did her first shoot with a friend of mine in Miami. Jessica is in 15 agencies in Miami, but only one up here. She's going to be moving in a year. She wants to do magazines."

Jessica is a size 5 with curly black hair, a bewitching smile and the manner of a part-time athlete.

A graduate of Indian Hill High School, Jessica received national recognition through her appearance in an ad for Provident Bank, which appeared in U.S. News & World Report.

"Snoop Dog was here last week and he saw Jessica's pictures," her mother says. "He ... wants to send her pictures to his photographer ... We're trying to get her in magazines or even movies."

Marilyn Bauer

Who would have thought: Of all the embarrassing-to-remember '70s trends, the poncho would come back into fashion?

Not just the concept of the poncho, but the actual love-it-or-leave-it-I've-been-to-Machu-Picchu ponchos present at every love fest and political happening more than 30 years ago.

But thank the fashion gods for design inspiration. Because this season, the poncho joins the cape and the capelet, shrug and shawl for fashion dominance on the runways and off.

It's really about fabric, texture and touch. Wrapping up any old outfit in a whiskey-colored knit mink stole or covering the shoulders in fuchsia marabou will make a big statement. So will fuzzy, cuddly, luxe or ecto-skeleton metallic looks. For fall, you are what you wrap around your body.

"It's all about femininity," says Donna Wesselman, owner of Bella Donna in Hyde Park. "The girlie-girl look is big. (Using a wrap) is a sophisticated, feminine way to dress."

Typical jeans and tees turn into a "look" when matched with the faux fur capelet with jeweled appliques we found on the rack at Bella Donna.

Ditto goes for the sumptuous furs from Saks Fifth Avenue. Wear these wondrous creations over camisoles, little black dresses or a business suit to make a daytime look work after dark. A mink stole at Saks isn't a 1940s vintage number, but a deeply textured, heavenly soft knit shawl that doesn't so much sit upon your shoulders but snuggles up against them.

New wraps are the "perfect grab-and-go piece for the fall wardrobe," says Cathy Ireland of Lazarus-Macy's. "Top a cami,

T-shirt or turtleneck."

We like combining wraps with scarves and mixing the textures. Try a hand-knit woolen cape in a subtle yet colorful weave with a faux fur animal scarf wrapped lightly around the neck. Pile on layered scarves - there's a great lavender number at Heaven in Oakley - to get an ultra wrap illusion.

Speaking of illusion, you have to love a wrap not only for how it looks and feels but for how much it covers. I've also been told fall wraps are a boon to fashion-savvy nursing moms.

Whatever. They look great, and make for great gift-giving. You don't even need to know a size.

E-mail mbauer@enquirer.com

Wrap yourself in a fresh look
Best Boss contest winner won't give any raises
Get to it
TV Best

Simpson stumbles on 'Live' part of 'Saturday'
Don DeLillo archive goes to U. of Texas
Preston moves away from party planing
Steenburgen, Danson help make food available

Shelf life: What's happening this week
Best sellers