Nouvelle ``Bague'' -- A Bunch of Fashion Sad Sacks

I know the New York Times doesn't have a comics page, but boy -- today, it didn't need one.

The ``On the Street' feature displays what's fashion-happening now on the avenues of the Big Apple, the chic herd-instinct shoe or coat or bag du jour, worn by myriad snapshotted women [and sometimes men, depending on the look].

Today -- well, what could you do but laugh? The must-have fashion item is a plastic Chanel carry-all. Except for couture touches like the chains and back-to-back Chanel Cs, it looks like a 13-gallon black drawstring trash bag. Those two Cs and the thousand-dollar pricetag evidently make the difference between the unspeakable and the un-live-without-able. The waiting list for this bag, we are told, is months long.

As a vegetarian, I'm pleased to see people making polymers do the work of cowhide or pigskin or, God help us, lambskin.

Who could help thinking of the ``I Love Lucy'' episode where a Paris couture label persuaded Lucy and Ethel to swan around the City of Lights in burlap sacks and feedbags. But the last laugh was on the couture world --- a designer spotted the outlandish Americans and aped the styles for his next fabulous ''look.''

Does anyone know whether Coco Chanel had a sense of humor?