Staff Reporter

Maybe it’s the weather, or the transient nature of Los Angeles society, but the really hot trends don’t start out these days in Paris or Rome or even New York. If it’s hot, it usually starts in the City of Angels.

Here’s our peek at what is hot and what is not for 1998.

In: Eli Broad

Out: David Geffen

Broad, the chairman of SunAmerica Inc., got the Disney Concert Hall rolling again by reviving the dormant fund-raising campaign. He exemplifies the spirit of giving back to a community, which can’t be said for DreamWorks czar David Geffen, who believes in biting the town that nurtured him being quoted in the New Yorker as saying that the Getty Center is “too good for Los Angeles.”

“I love it but people here won’t appreciate it,” Geffen was quoted as saying. “There is nothing else that can stand up to this. Look around everything’s transitory. And this is solid. This is permanent.”

Like dumb remarks.

In: Bus and carpool lanes

Out: Metro Rail

Big cities like New York, Washington and London have subways thus L.A. must have a subway. That, apparently, was the faulty logic behind L.A.’s star-crossed Metro Rail subway project. Of course, the transit planners overlooked the fact that L.A.’s notorious sprawl makes a fixed-rail system impractical. And adding insult to injury, they bypassed the few places where Angelenos do take public transit. The transit titans appear to be regaining their senses; expect more work on dedicated busways and carpool lanes.

In: Outdoor shopping parks

Out: Enclosed malls

With people spending more time in the office these days, who wants to wander around a hermetically sealed shopping mall? Outdoor shopping areas allow Angelenos to get out in the fresh air which, by the way, is the cleanest in a generation thanks to aggressive pollution-control efforts.

In: The Vacation

Out: Merlot

Take vanilla-flavored Stoli, rum, a splash of pineapple juice and 7-Up and you have The Vacation, one of the hippest drinks around (although some vote for an Absolut vodka gimlet, extra sour). At dinner, skip the Merlot and go for the real thing: a nice, full-bodied Cabernet, which no other wine can match.

In: Rupert Murdoch

Out: Michael Eisner

Eisner has been the king of Hollywood for about a decade, but his reign appears to be ending now that Rupert Murdoch is in town. Murdoch doesn’t just want to be king of Hollywood he wants to be the media emperor of the world. After his purchase of the Dodgers is completed in January, look for Murdoch to get involved in building a football stadium overlooking downtown from Elysian Park.

In: Investment bankers

Out: Computer game developers

Given the stock market’s climb, investment bankers are in demand as they work to finance new companies and acquisitions, making mucho bucks for the parties involved and themselves, of course. Meanwhile, there’s a shakeout afoot among computer game makers that will put the brakes on kids in their 20s making six-figure salaries at least for now.

In: No-smoking bars

Out: Cigar bars

Pack away those stogies for the great outdoors, because come Jan. 1 smoking is banned in restaurants and even many of those clubby cigar bars that have popped up for macho guys and women who want to hack and cough like one of the boys. Of course, there’s always a way around the ban like attaching a retail tobacco shop to the bar, creating a private club with a super ventilation system or building an outdoor patio.

In: French bistros

Out: Italian trattorias

The Zagat survey dubbed Mimosa on Beverly Boulevard the “in spot of the moment,” and no wonder; after years of all those pasta dishes not to mention the ubiquitious designer pizzas Angelenos are hungry for French accents once again.

In: Mercedes ML320

Out: Small sports cars

Family-oriented yuppies can still get their thrills with Mercedes’ ML320 mini-four-wheel drive that made its debut in “Lost World.” These days, motorists want “command of the road” elevation and plenty of cargo room. Forget about tiny roadsters like the Miata; there’s not enough room in those little cars for the kiddies, groceries and the family dog. The ML320, which starts at $34,000, is so much in demand that it takes months to get your order filled.

In: Cable modems

Out: ISDN lines

ISDN lines had their day, but the higher bandwidth offered by cable modems make them the superior technology for transmitting digital information and the cable companies are getting the message. They’re starting to lay the fiber optic cable needed to do the job.


Out: CNN

The Microsoft-NBC alliance has resulted in a cutting-edge news and information channel that dares to assume its viewers are intelligent. Short of another war, Cable News Network better think of retooling for the new century its format and standing features are starting to wear thin.

In: Peninsula Hotel

Out: Beverly Hills Hotel

The Pink Palace and its fabled Polo Lounge have never been the same since the Sultan of Brunei took over and renovated the Sunset Boulevard hotel. The Hollywood crowd moved over en masse to the Pen and now holds court in the bar, dining rooms and lobby. (Sylvester Stallone orders his milk slightly burnt for his oatmeal.) The move to the Peninsula also signals the switch from the big impersonal hotels to the more intimate boutique hotels where, as they said on “Cheers,” “everybody knows your name.”

In: Zegna ties

Out: Armani ties

They’re bold, they’re bright, they cost $100 or more but when you wear one of these cravats designed by Northern Italy’s Ermenegildo Zegna (pronounced zen-ya), you’re part of the in-crowd. Unlike Giorgio Amani’s thinner silk ties, say insiders, Zegna’s don’t curl out of shape.

In: Adventure books

Out: Celebrity books

Edge-of-your-seat books are hot on the best-seller lists these days with tales like “Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer, “Citizen Soldiers” by Stephen Ambrose, and “The Perfect Storm” by Sebastian Junger. Forget those tell-all books; even minor TV lights are writing them, a sure sign of a saturated market.

In: Vermont Avenue

Out: Third Street Promenade

Vermont Avenue in Hollywood boasts an eclectic collection of boutiques, art galleries, book stores and diners popular with the Gen X set. Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade remains hot, but hipsters are looking elsewhere.

In: High heels

Out: Doc Martens

Let’s face it, there is nothing more flattering to a woman’s leg than a pair of wobbly high heels, which is why women have reached new heights in shoes. Podiatrists, however, are appalled. “If you are going to the Oscars or sitting at a dinner party, they’re fine,” says Keith Gurnick, an L.A. podiatrist. “But if you plan to be on your feet for more than an hour, I’d say you’re much better off in a sturdier heel.”

In: Pamela Lee

Out: Tommy Lee

The “Baywatch” babe has a new syndicated series, “VIPs,” for next fall. Tommy Lee, meanwhile, is struggling to make a comeback with his heavy metal band, Motley Crue. It could be a long wait.

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