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Democrats Fall Prey to Designing New Yorkers

July 14, 1992

NEW YORK (AP) _ Some designing New Yorkers got Democrats to admit to an urge to spend on Tuesday, but it was mostly tongue-in-chic.

The city’s $12 billion fashion industry unleashed its Seventh Avenue stars, including Donna Karan, Anne Klein, Oscar de la Renta and Calvin Klein, upon convention delegates at a special showing of their fall designs for women.

″The world’s largest fashion show,″ as billed by the sponsor, NY 92, drew a capacity crowd, including an unusual number of men, into a Central Park tent, despite sweltering heat. The music and the clothes were just as hot.

″French maid fantasy, definitely,″ said Harvey Whittemore, chairman of the Nevada delegation, nudging his wife Annette as an Albert Nipon model paraded down the runway in, well, a French maid’s outfit.

The couple’s daughter, Andrea, 14, seemed enraptured by the show but son D.J., 17, was less than impressed - until a Donna Karan model hit the floor wearing a black off-the-shoulder, see-through gown, slit to the navel.

Whittemore gave it a thumbs up and added, ″that’s D.J.’s favorite, too.″

″It was just incredible, incredible,″ said Ginny Allan, a delegate from Sudbury, Mass. ″Now I’m ready to shop.″

″We decided the entire women’s delegation from Massachusetts will show up on the convention floor wearing some of those outfits,″ she added with a wry smile.

The extravaganza was followed by a shopping tour of New York’s famous stores, including Saks, Bloomingdale’s and Henri Bendel.

At the show, Marjorie Tarmey, a delegate and teacher from Cranston, R.I., kept an eye open for outfits she could wear in the classroom. She was having a hard time of it, as model after model dripping in glitter and leopard prints paraded before her.

Designer Todd Oldham did offer one outfit that might be called educational: it featured a gold-sequinned mini with a smiling Mona Lisa on the front and a Picasso face on the derriere.

Then Tarmey saw it: a strapless, sequinned Bob Mackie gown, slit thigh-high in fire engine red. ″PTA meetings, without a doubt,″ she declared with a toss of her hair.

Everyone seemed pleased, but none more than Ida Cabral, 68, a delegate from Fall River, Mass., who was already a fashion sight in red shorts, a T-shirt studded with convention pins and a red visor with American flags flapping on either side.

″Beautiful, just beautiful,″ she exclaimed about the outfits she’d seen. ″I’m gonna order one of each - in plus size.″

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