ALI UNZIPPED

Byline: Dahlia Dean

NEW YORK--Ali MacGraw, who skyrocketed to fame when she starred in "Love Story" in 1970, said goodby to the Hollywood rat race a long time ago. The actress now lives in Santa Fe, N.M., and commutes to Los Angeles when it's necessary.
"If it is only about being in the right room, at the right restaurant, at the top of the ladder," MacGraw says, "then I would be flipping through my scrapbooks like Norma Desmond."
Although she says she has better things to do than look at her clips, including the Time magazine cover story from the glory days, one of her recent projects did take MacGraw down memory lane.
She was one of many people, including Isaac Mizrahi, Hubert de Givenchy and Bob Mackie, who were interviewed for "The Hollywood Fashion Machine," an American Movie Classics documentary that airs tonight at 8 p.m. Hosted by Jacqueline Bisset, the program chronicles Hollywood's influence on fashion over the years--weaving interviews with movie stills and clips from 1934 to 1992. MacGraw's relationship with fashion started before her film career. She worked as Diana Vreeland's assistant at Harper's Bazaar, as a model and as a stylist for photographer Melvin Sokolsky. "It's quite shocking when you see how many images, particularly of women, influenced the way we dreamed at certain points in our lives," says MacGraw. "I grew up following Audrey Hepburn. She was it, for those of us who weren't going to grow up and look like Marilyn Monroe." MacGraw admits she bought a Brooks Bros. shirt and corduroy pants because Hepburn was photographed wearing that outfit in a fashion magazine.
"I realize, as I get older, to hell with whether it's on page 17 of a fashion magazine," remarks MacGraw, who now wears Calvin Klein, Armani, vintage clothing and tribal jewelry.
"Tribal jewelry has a soul," she says. "For me, it's always been more interesting than what's been made in five minutes. That's probably why I've always loved antique clothing--the quality of work that went into that clothing is light years ahead of the most costly couture."
MacGraw, who studied art history at Wellesley, is on a quest these days to learn more about various ethnic and cultural groups. She just attended the annual 10-day Ethnographic and Tribal Arts Show in Santa Fe, where she fell in love with 16th century Peruvian weavings.
"When you're an older actress, you better have something to fall back on," says MacGraw, who has written an autobiography, "Moving Pictures," and made a video called "Yoga, Mind & Body."
"Luckily for me, I did so many other things before I became a movie star. To find myself--God forbid--working on a soap opera in some motel for 12 weeks just being the woman in a green suit isn't enough of an adventure. I would really rather work for free for 10 days at the Ethnographic and Tribal Arts Show."

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