Beware of Chiclet Choppers; La Schiano Loves Giant Rings

People are getting fatter–but their teeth are getting whiter.

Chubbiness, according to the Centers for Disease Control, now affects 40 percent of the population, as opposed to 25 percent in 1981. Based on current trends, Dr. John Foreyt of the Baylor College of Medicine in Texas has predicted that by the year 2230, every American will be clinically obese. If you find this statistic too horribly depressing, leaven it with the knowledge that the increasing population growth (or girth) is paralleled by an equal–and, some would say, paradoxical–rise in obsessive cosmetic vanity. Teeth-whitening, for example, is fast becoming a national obsession.

Gone are the days when snaggle-toothed or bedentured fans marveled contentedly at the silver-screen smiles of Ava Gardner or Trini López. Now everyone feels entitled to that ‘N Sync smile–and thanks to Manhattan celeb-dentist Dr. Jonathan Levine (who has worked on Peter Gallagher, Eva Herzigova and Naomi Campbell), everyone–even you!–can have it.

A leader in the teeth-whitening community for over a decade, Dr. Levine learned from the master, Adrian Jurim, the guy who perfected porcelain veneers–or Lee press-on teeth, as I like to call them. Since the mid-80’s, Dr. Levine has worked tirelessly to come up with a teeth-whitening procedure that would do away with high-maintenance veneers and render obsolete those leaky bleaching trays and fierce argon lights. And now, he has found it.

The magical treatment starts with a short preconditioning procedure: this consists of you biting down on a tray of 3 percent peroxide for 15 minutes. A xenon arc lamp is then aimed at your heinously stained gnashers, while a mixture of peroxide plus “special catalysts and desensitizers” is repeatedly applied thereupon. The arc lamp activates the free oxygen in the mixture over the next hour, during which time a fresh mixture is applied, providing a constant flow of whitening agents to the teeth. In less than two hours, you will walk out of Dr. Levine’s newest Esthetic Whitening Center (there are nine others in Manhattan) at Fifth Avenue and 73rd Street (734-6111) with your teeth “up to fourteen shades whiter”–or so claims his publicist, whose teeth were remarkably lovely.

Celeb-assonant Dr. Levine says that “a high percentage of my female clients ask for a big flashy Julia Roberts, while, increasingly, men demand a Tom Cruise.” This initially surprised him, since “Tom’s midline is nearly half a tooth off. He has an off-color incisor and a clearly visible cap,” he said. “Maybe after Regis hit the big-time, guys started to appreciate the value of having a few imperfections.”

According to Dr. Levine, most dingy-toothed first-timers will, regardless of age, “gravitate to the toilet-bowl white end of the spectrum.” But tall, handsome Dr. Levine likes to guide his patients towards an “age-appropriate” shade. He will ask you to pick from a bizarre-looking teeth-encrusted color-card; shades fall into roughly two categories: “straight-way perfect” or “clean, healthy, natural.” If you are a fun-loving, dirty old codger with a deep tan, don’t let Dr. Levine talk you into “clean, healthy, natural” if you really want what the doc calls a “mouthful of Chiclets.” It’s part of your brand identity.

The whole procedure normally costs $1,200, but it could run you up to $1,500 if you have what he calls “intrinsic staining,” i.e., the tell-tale signs of a dissolute life.

If you come across an old Vogue from 1970 at the flea market, flip it open and see if you can spot Marina Schiano. If there’s a leggy brunette straddling a Mayan pyramid looking like a Latina Lady Bunny, wearing 15 hairpieces, top-and-bottom false eyelashes and nothing else, it’s probably Ms. Schiano.

Since her time as one of Diana Vreeland’s favorite models, Marina has been through many incarnations. In the 1970’s she was, according to the late Alexander Liberman, “the alter-ego of Yves Saint Laurent”; in the late 1980’s, she helped Tina Brown make celebrities groovy again (thanks?) in her role as Vanity Fair ‘s creative style director. In her latest, and most spectacular, incarnation–jewelry designer–she just happens to have designed the most important accessory of the early 21st century: the oversized ring.

“Tinsy, wintsy, weeny, wimpy, weensy jewelry–ugh!” vents heavily accented Marina, who finds small bijoux to be as unacceptable as I do. “Women think discreet jewelry is elegant. It’s not. And all it shows is an horribile lack of daring.” Large jewelry, according to La Schiano, communicates “senses of awarenesses–certain auras of exoticisms.”

Worn by the likes of Nell Campbell, Serena Altschul, Tracey Ullman, Elton John, Alba Clemente, Mandy Moore and many more, her massive rings are a paradox of pure architectural restraint and unbridled grandiosity. Testicle-sized Brazilian stones–amethyst, beryl, sky-blue topaz, citrine, ruby, imperial topaz and various crystals are mounted in brutalist, bunker-like settings of silver and gold. Prices range from $375 to $4,495 at Barneys (660 Madison Avenue).

When you buy one of her rings, you are getting far more than just the accessory du jour; you are also snagging a bit of gravely-voiced Marina herself–and she’s not chopped liver.

If people are ignoring you, and the help is sassing you back, it’s probably because your hair is thin and straggly. You need volume and length: You need extensions.

Make an assignation at the chicly boutiquish salon entitled Dandie (100 Stanton Street, behind Katz’s Deli, 598-4490). This salon boasts four chairs, two “climazone centers” (futuristic hair-dryers) and three of the most creative people in hairdressing today:

Seth. Repeat after me: Seth Silver’s single-stranded, silicon-sealed extension system. Seth Silver’s single-stranded, etc. But Seth’s system is far more than just a sibilant tongue-twister: It’s a life-changing hair-extension procedure that will get you the volume you need and, consequently, the respect you deserve. Seth understands the equation between hair and power. With his silicon gun, he can give you “exactly the right balance of Donatella and Gwyneth.” Prices vary between $500 and $1,200.

Carol Ann, a self-described “extension goddess and visual assault artist,” has a more extreme mandate and a completely different technique. Using her pinched braiding, she can make you into a neon-haired cyber-slut at a cost of $100 per hour. For non-cyber-sluts, the exotically maquillaged Carol Ann recommends, for this season, a violet pinch-braided “Mrs. Robinson” streak for approximately $100.

If you just want a damn good $100 haircut, Wendy’s your man.

My boyfriend, Jonathan Adler (don’t you hate the word “partner”? It connotes law firms or boring Westerns, and boyfriend keeps the skippy romance in a relationship), has started a series of micro-exhibits at his Broome Street store featuring intriguingly iffy work from the margins of the art world. Previously exhibited: a collection of Leroy Neiman commemorative plates (these are now on view at the Jonathan Adler East Hampton store) and plexiglass portraits of Asian porno queens by Steve Caliguiri. Currently on view: the heavy-metal bad trips of Scott Lenhardt. Scott, a bona fide snowboard-graphics artist living in Vermont, has lacquered his nightmares onto snowboard-sized panels to create an 80’s heavy-metal moment, executed to perfection and guaranteed to vibe off unwanted relatives who drop in during the upcoming holiday season.

If you are having problems with your weight, call 941-8950 and commission Scott to mural the front of your refrigerator.

Abject apologies for lauding Lord Berners/Adela Quebec’s The Girls of Radcliff Hall in last week’s column and failing to point out that it can only be purchased directly from Elysium Press Books. Contact David Deiss at 802-763-7147, or check out their Web site at Beware of Chiclet Choppers; La Schiano Loves Giant Rings