VAQUESHA'S TINY WORLD: At the advanced age of eight, Vaquesha Taybron has set up shop in the backroom of her mother, Valerie Valentina's, San Francisco showroom. There she creates Vaquesha's Tiny World, a collection of children's bathrobes, aprons and wrap skirts.

"My mother was always getting mad at me, because I was always jumping on one of her sewing machines and playing with her expensive fabric," says Vaquesha. "Finally she gave up and bought me some of my own to work with."

Vaquesha's first effort was an assortment of coin purses made in an African print fabric. The young entrepreneur pulled in $50 selling these showroom to showroom at the San Francisco Center for 50 cents each. Vaquesha then decided to start her own line, with a little help from her mother.

A division of Valerie Valentina (her mother's signature line of clothing for men, women and children), Vaquesha's Tiny World features reversible cotton bathrobes, aprons and wrap skirts in bright dinosaur and fish prints at $5 to $24 wholesale.

Vaquesha also works as a model and hip-hop dancer and draws constantly. "My mother got the patchwork idea she used in some of her designs from one of the drawings I did," she says. The young designer adds that she'd like to pattern her career after those of other successful designers, such as Jessica McClintock, Donna Karan and of course, her mother.

PERRINO IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The guest designer to be featured at The Fashion Center Design Portfolio Fashion Show on April 9 is Cincinnati-born Peter Perrino, a former law student and graduate of Pacific Fashion Institute who has lived in the Bay Area for the past 10 years.

Perrino compares the process of draping clothes to sculpting.

"My objective is to make a simple, well-constructed garment for the sophisticated woman," he says. "I believe that the closer one cuts a woven cloth to the body, the exponentially more complex becomes the art." In June, the 38-year-old designer will open his first store. For early fall, Perrino is doing long and short suits, fitted jackets and vests, body-conscious dresses and man-tailored trousers in lightweight rayon and acetate in shades such as chestnut, sage, taupe, celadon and white. The collection, which wholesales from $30 to $175, is represented by Scott Lyall at the Fashion Center and carried at stores including I. Magnin and Nordstrom here.CANTER'S TURN: There is a new showroom at The Fashion Center. It's been remodeled and has a new name, but buyers will have no trouble recognizing its friendly staff or the ethnic-style clothing lines it carries: Ami, Asia Craft, Bila, Dunia, Endless Knot Art, Momentum, Native Circles, Saya, Sangam, Thin Air, We Be Bop and Zashi.

When 53-year-old showroom owner Harry Sallada died in January, he left his eponymous business to his office manager of 10 years, June Canter. For legal reasons, she renamed the showroom June Canter Associates. For emotional reasons, she redecorated.

"There were too many ghosts when we came to work after Harry passed away," she said. The carpet has been ripped out to reveal a cement floor and once-white walls have been painted shades of moss, pale yellow and mauve. But Canter is adamant about upholding Sallada's business philosophy, "Customer service first." While most showrooms at The Fashion Center remain dark between markets, hers stays open five days a week. "We miss Harry and we keep him in mind," Canter says. "But slowly we are finding our own pace."

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