By DANICA LO
PHOTO This $495 dress, on sale at a Manhattan store, is a top-selling prom look for the designer.
- Liz Sullivan
January 24, 2005 -- PROM princess or porn queen?
This prom dress is so skimpy, even the designer's CEO wouldn't let his teenage daughter wear it. But the dangerously revealing gown, prominently advertised in Seventeen Prom, YM Prom and Teen Prom, and on sale in a Midtown shop, is a top seller for the company this season.
"I was shocked when I first saw it, but now it's one of our top 20 dresses nationwide," says Nick Yeh, the CEO of Xcite, the Stafford, Texas, company that designed the dress and some 200 other styles this season.
"I have a 15-year-old daughter and, no, I would not recommend she wear this dress.
"As a businessman," he adds, "I'm not judging what a teenager should wear or not wear. It's up to the parents to decide for their own children."
In fact, some shops in smaller cities require girls to bring in parental permission slips to buy the dress, Yeh told The Post.
At Elite Designs, a formal shop in Midtown that has the barely-there gown on a mannequin, owner Surinder Nagpal says, "We've gotten a few calls about that dress. Originally, I wasn't going to stock [it], but my sales associate told me that girls would want it, so we're stocking it in black and red."
So far, says Helen Rodriguez, Nagpal's sales associate, no one has bought the $495 gown - but it just arrived.
"Our biggest sellers are still the traditional princess ball gowns, but sometimes a parent will come in with their daughter and will buy her whichever dress she wants," Rodriguez said.
"If my daughter had the body to wear it, I'd let her!"
It's too early to tell how many girls in New York City will buy the dress, but those who do may have a hard time getting through the prom door.
While it's up to individual school administrators to rule on prom fashions, the Board of Education maintains a disciplinary dress code that prohibits "wearing clothing or other items that are unsafe or disruptive to the educational process."
Lisa Maffei-Fuentes, principal of Christopher Columbus High School in The Bronx, bans "anything that resembles the famous [green Versace] J.Lo dress."
"I personally have to check every dress," says Maffei-Fuentes. "Breasts must be entirely covered and there should not be any cutouts in the bodice.
"On the night of the prom, we have chaperones at the entry looking at every dress. We also provide needle, thread and pins to close up holes and fix dresses to the appropriate length," she says.
"This is for their own protection. We're there to help them experience the prom as a wonderful, dignified evening."
Parents who saw pictures of the dress were shocked.
"It's absolutely too much," said Tal Mandler of Woodmere, Long Island, whose daughter, Dana, is 13. "It is very provocative and does not suit the occasion or the age."
"What happened to the rest of it?" wondered Hilda Salazar, whose 17-year-old daughter is a high school senior in Brooklyn.
Asked whether she'd allow her daughter to wear the dress to prom - or if she'd allow her 19-year-old son to date a girl who did - Salazar answered with a resounding no.
Students at Stuyvesant High School were just as appalled.
"Our school doesn't have a dress code, but I don't think any girls would wear that to prom," said senior Mary Zhang.
"How would you wear it, anyway? Double-sided tape doesn't last all night."
Senior Daniel Belu and junior Katie Hammond laughed out loud at the sight of it.
"I wouldn't want my girlfriend to wear this - at least not in public," Belu said.
"I don't think any girl would wear this to a prom. She'd step on her dress on the dance floor and everything would just fall out!"
Most of the students we spoke to were primarily concerned with practicalities. "You couldn't dance in that dress - actually, you couldn't do anything at all," says junior Vivian Healey.
"If you wore that to prom, you'd be falling out of it all night," says senior Angela Cho. "There's also hardly any material. I can't believe it costs $400. You could make it yourself if you really wanted to."
Other students expressed aesthetic concerns. "I don't think anyone would wear this to the prom. The dress looks kind of whore-ish," says junior Emma Herr.
"This dress would look great at a prom if the model in the picture wore it," says senior Vlaz Ermant, "but we don't have any girls like that at our school."