Stars like Madonna, Courtney Love, and Sharon Stone shine is satin

By Casey Davidson
Updated May 19, 1995 at 04:00 AM EDT

Satin emerges as the fabric of choice

If fashion had a soundtrack this season, it would be R.E.M.’s ”Shiny Happy People.” Satin used to be restricted to dolls, sheets, and only the dressiest of dresses, but suddenly it’s the common thread among celebrities: Annie Lennox donned a black satin suit on her recent Saturday Night Live appearance; Madonna wore satin to the Ready to Wear premiere; both Sharon Stone and Courtney Love modeled it at the Oscars; and Drew Barrymore shimmered in it at the Broadway opening of Indiscretions late last month. The fabric hasn’t been in such high style since the ’40s, when Rita Hayworth played a satin-clad chanteuse in Gilda.

”The grunge look has faded. Satin is more ladylike,” says Susan Portnoy, spokeswoman for designer Nicole Miller, whose spring and fall lines emphasize satin suits and shirts. ”It’s a more appropriate fabric for short, fitted suits. It’s more womanly, more glamorous.” Other converts to the cloth include Victor Alfaro, Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, and Calvin Klein, who all showcase the lustrous material in their new collections.

Chic aside, there’s another reason for satin’s newfound appeal: It looks great in pictures. ”When photographed, it shows off light, shape, and depth,” says fashion photographer Stephanie Pfriender. ”It adds that extra edge that says Hollywood.”