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DATEBOOK - December 23rd, 1993 - Page E3

How To Light Up The Holidays

The excitement was electric at 'interactive' fashion show

BY TRISH DONNALLY - Chronicle Fashion Editor

ELECTRONIC CHRISTMAS: Designer Jim Fox(left) in cowboy hat with a blinking star, models with blinking lights, and Rob Levitsky in his own suit of lights

If you want to wear interactive fashions, it helps to be an extrovert.

I dropped in at the Endup, a SoMa club, Tuesday afternoon for Jim Fox's electronic Christmas fashion show.

The door had a padlock and opened into a den of darkness and smoke. This at 3 p.m. Immediately a dog started sniffing me. But everything was so black - the wall the ceiling the dog - that it was almost invisible.
Behind the bar was a stage where - wham - there stood a Neanderthal man lit up like a Christmas tree. He wore a brown furry conical hat, a fur shawl on his back and a fur hide down the front. The bearded man carried what lloked like a rounded club, except it was covered with blinking yellow, red, green and blue lights.

Explosion of Lights

His shaggy back shawl featured a sun pattern, also made from an explosion of lights. His front faux-fur animal hide bore a colorfully lit dancing bear, symbol of the Grateful Dead. (The dancing bear man was Rob Levitsky, 37, of Palo Alto, an electronics engineer who made his outfit, starting it in '88 and perfecting it over the years. Deadheads would be crushed if the didn't see him roaming the aisles at every Bay Area show by the band)

Meanwhile, this dog keeps sniffing around my knees, and I can't tell what breed he is, though I think he's a Doberman pinscher pup. I retreat to a bar stool for safety.

And none too soon. Because the next thing I see is a cowboy in white with a blinking red peace symbol bolo tie and a cowboy hat with a twinkling star. He's on stage taking three tries before successfully lassoing - with a battery-lit lasso, natch - a blonde in a black leather bikini, Her top and bottom have flashing red lights.

Urban Cowboy

Turns out the urban cowboy is Fox, 38, a computer programmer cum interactive clothing designer from Novato.

"A lasso is an interactive kind of thing," said Fox.

He was quick to follow with his "firefly," a short whip studded with flashing lights.

Another blonde wore a black leather bustier with red lights. This bra had cruise control; you could change the speed and pattern, depending on your mood. She had the lights racing at top speed in circles - one clockwise, one counterclockwise - around her bosom. She also wore a black biker's cap with a veil of red lights dangling from the brim. These battery-operated, custom-order creations range from $125 for a twinkling choker to $500 for a blinking bra.

A third blonde, in a red 49er baseball cap that blinked red lights around the SF logo, did cheers with gold pompoms that blinked white lights, which were activated when she shook it.

Looking into the future, I think this is where fashion will end up

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