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Byline: Roxanne Robinson / Bobbi Queen / Nandini D’Souza / Jeannie Chen / Tish Johnson / Rosemary Feitelberg

Holy Ropa
Talk about divine inspiration. Designer Jeanine Diego-Medina has tapped into her spiritual and religious side for her Ropa collections. In her last fall collection, aptly titled Vistiendo Santos (Dressing Saints), looks included long, loose pants and tops with white Velcro tabs — much like the mass robes and cassocks worn by Catholic clergymen. Religious and mythical influences carry her into her spring-summer line, which features Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec god of wind and air. This feathered serpent is embroidered into many of her garments, signifying promise — something essential for a young designer.
Ropa is available at Barneys New York, and wholesales from $75 to $250.

Blowing Up Christmas
If you can’t make it home for the holidays, don’t worry. You can take the holiday spirit anywhere with Room’s inflatable Christmas tree.
Perfect for the young on-the-go crowd, this tree deflates to the size of a compact disc jewel case and comes in three sizes; prices start at $17. The tree is even outfitted with its own decorations and star.
Australia’s Simon Pithie, a former ad executive, and Leonard Hamersfeld are the brainchildren behind this tree to go and have recently launched their homeware line, Room, which is available at Henri Bendel.

The Bare Band
Tired of looking like you’re wearing last year’s lingerie in your hair? From the folks that introduced the Bumble Band, which started the “bra-strap-as-headband” trend, comes the latest in style and technology — the Bare Band.
The hair bands. made of latex, come in five translucent colors for a minimal, barely there look. Currently available through the Bumble & Bumble Salon network, the Bare Band retails for $14.99.

Shoe Fetish
“It was about instant gratification,” says Blue Dragon designer Rita Stein, upon discovering how fast shoes could be manufactured in Vietnam.
While there on business, she stumbled upon a huge outdoor market that produced custom-made slippers. She brought back 10 pairs for herself and, she adds, “All of my friends — including fashion editors, boutique owners and ‘civilians’ — flipped.” The feeding frenzy had begun.
Stein has translated the Vietnamese slipper-sensibility into street shoes for the U.S. Six styles include beaded thongs, flats and Moroccan slippers — all with street-sturdy rubber soles — in 12 colors. She also started a line of silk pajamas for day or night. A few personal and small-store requests later, orders have totaled more than $250,000.
Blue Dragon is available at Calypso in New York and Great Barrington, Mass. Shoes wholesale for $25 to $27 and are available for immediate delivery.

Bag It
Urban-dwelling dog lovers and Mayor Giuliani, rejoice — the Bag-ette has arrived. Richard Serringer’s nifty little doggie-bag dispenser makes picking up after Fido quick, painless and even somewhat fashionable.
“I was tired of sticking bags and newspapers into my pockets every time I walked the dog. I wanted something small and neat,” says Serringer. So he took matters into his own hands and created the Bag-ette, a discreet white plastic case with 15 blue bags rolled up inside. The case fits easily onto belts, bags, pockets or car visors. But the best part about the Bag-ette is that it also comes in handy for baby diapers, car cleanups and myriad other daily mini-messes.
The Bag-ette wholesales for $14.99, including three refill rolls, and is available at Mxyplyzyk and The Barking Zoo in New York.

Next Nails
Anyone can have the Midas touch with Next Nails’s 14-karat gold fingernails. These easy-to-apply jewels come in a variety of sizes and lengths. Gold and silver are available in matte and shiny finishes for a flash of futuristic glamour. Retail prices range from $20 to $100 per nail; the items are available at Language, New York, and Skin Market at the Beverly Center in Los Angeles.

Well-Dressed Champagne
If Jean Paul Gaultier has his way, he’ll be dressing people and their champagne this New Year’s Eve.
Gaultier teamed up with the Piper-Heidsieck Champagne company to design a fire-engine red vinyl corset for the bottle and special bubbly for inside. Even better, the corset actually laces up. Bottles retail for $100 at Neiman Marcus nationwide.

Snug Cell Phones
This season mobile phone fans have a new accessory for their little toys — the CellSuit by Body Glove.
The cases are made of suede-like neoprene, a high tech rubber used in scuba gear that protects phones from water — this means the occasional rain shower, not deep-sea diving. Retailing for $24.99, CellSuits fit flip and nonflip phones. For local stores, visit the web site at goneo.com.

Survival Kit
Ultimate Direction looks to be the best drinking buddy in town. This Idaho company and its specialized vests and packs with built-in reservoirs will keep even the most avid sports adventurer hydrated and happy.
Retailing for $55, packs and vests have fleece-lined pockets, removable waist belts, key clips, wallet pockets and tool organizers. They are available at REI nationwide.

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