Cartoon Couture

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Having insinuated themselves onto every article of children's clothing imaginable, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Bart Simpson have done the seemingly unimaginable: They're showing up on "designer yarmulkes."

And they're not alone: "Sesame Street" favorites Bert and Ernie have come along for the ride.

Is nothing sacred?

Traditionally observant Jewish men and boys generally wear the skullcaps at all times, and they are required at many Jewish day schools.

The designer versions, which cost about $20, first appeared on the heads of boys 10 and under three years ago, says Sandy S. Gruenberg, director of the learning center at Solomon Schechter School, a Jewish day school in White Plains, N.Y.

"They are more popular now than when they first came out," says Ms. Gruenberg. "About half of my students wear them."

The yarmulkes are made of leather and painted with the fad of the moment by artists who, because they are violating federal copyright laws protecting the characters, take care not to sign their work.

Favorite styles in Ms. Gruenberg's class include the teenage terrapins and the logos of the New York professional sports teams. Whatever is au courant shows up.

"I've seen Bart Simpson caps just as I have seen Batman ones before," she says.

Some observers say the cartoon caps of today are a fad similar to the colorful knitted and crocheted yarmulkes many boys sported in the early 1970's.--vlj

Vol. 10, Issue 9

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