Fashion And Design Trends

Whoever knew computer hardware could look so good? With the advent of Palm's ultra-thin handheld organizers has come a bevy of fashionable covers, from Hermes's gold matte alligator skin ($1,525) to the classic Burberry check ($195). According to Sunny Kate, an actress by trade whose eponymous company has begun making the cases, it was a niche just waiting to be filled. "I was on the set one day, and while looking up something on my planner, I stopped and thought, 'Why is this thing that I use all the time so boring?' " she says. "I wanted to create something that would be functional, sexy and fun." That she has, with covers in faux zebra and leopard skin, Lichtenstein-like comic images and an aloha print called Bikini Girl. Among our favorites from other image-conscious companies: the Louis Vuitton in screaming orange glace leather with a nifty hand strap ($350), the elegant traditional Gucci logo ($135), the water-resistant neoprene PalmGlove by Body Glove ($24.95) and the eye-popping diamond-encrusted case from Houston-based Ash for $24,000--by special order, natch. Guaranteed to keep you from ever misplacing your organizer again. FURNITURENew Meaning for the Term 'Put a Cork in It' When Kevin Walz gets tired of the chair he's sitting on, he can use some of it to stop up a bottle of wine. That's because Walz, 51, has been molding cork into everything from furniture to cushion covers to vases. "Cork floors have been around since the 1950s," he says. "But cork furniture is a very new concept." Cork is strong, waterproof and antibacterial, says Walz, an acclaimed American interior and product designer who lives in Rome. It's also environmentally friendly: cork trees, which are found mainly in Spain, Portugal and Italy, naturally slough off their bark every 10 years. Even then, Walz's company, KorQinc, uses only what is left over from the wine industry. "What we get looks like Swiss cheese," he says. He then granulates the cork scraps and melds them together with an adhesive to form cubic blocks, from which he builds his furniture. Color variations are achieved through different-hued adhesives. The furniture is attractive, stable and surprisingly comfortable. And if you want to tack a photo to it? No harm done. WEDDINGSThe Rise of the 'Moulin' Bride The return of'80s fashion, visible in everything from gold chain belts to shoulder pads to blue eye shadow, is now invading the realm of the wedding dress. Carley Roney, founder of, a popular wedding Web site, says this year's brides are taking a cue from "Material Girl"-era Madonna. "It's all about lace and corsets," she says. In some cases, the look tips toward courtesan chic, as with a Badgley Mischka dress that laces up the back and a Reem Acra gown with a taut, boned bodice. "I call it the 'Moulin Rouge' effect," says Roney. The trend is part of an overall move away from '90s minimalism, which favored slinky dresses like the one worn by Carolyn Bessette Kennedy in 1996 when she married JFK Jr. "You also have the return of the voluptuous body," says Roney, "so you want to have something like a corset to show that off." And it encourages dancing the can-can at the reception. ACCESSORIESFashionable Ferrets Ferrets were once a novel fashion accessory. Now the furry creatures have accessories of their own. At Ferretworld, in Britain's West Midlands, shoppers can buy their sleek little pets everything from grooming products to raincoats. Just last month owners Helen and Simon Bishop introduced their own line of ferret-wear, which includes Santa suits, Velcro bandannas and baseball caps, as well as more practical fleece jackets. "Tuxedos and jumpers have attracted the most interest so far," says Helen. In the past year, the Bishops have sold more than 100 miniature outfits, either out of their shop or at the country fairs they visit around Britain. Recently they added a Web site, Coming in the fall ferret line: a combat outfit, bridal wear and Halloween costumes.