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`What, This Old Rag? I Spotted It On The Internet'

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MCI COMMUNICATIONS CORP. is trying to make a fashion statement on the Internet. The long-distance carrier recently set up an electronic mall there, featuring a dozen outfits, mostly computer-oriented. And now, in a bid to broaden the Net's demographics to include more women, it's starting what amounts to an online fashion magazine.

Called @fashion, it's available as part of the Internet's World Wide Web--specifically, at MCI has hired Jeanne Beker, the host of the VH-1 cable channel's Fashion TV show, to report on trends and the work of specific designers. The first weekly edition of @fashion was timed to coincide with New York City's Fashion Week, a weeklong series of designer shows. In the debut edition, fashion mavens can check out clothes from designer Victor Alfaro and jewelry from designer Mark Edge.

In addition to pages of text, graphics, and fashion sketches, MCI's "magazine" will also provide video clips from recent fashion shows. It now takes five minutes or more to deliver the clips to a viewer's computer, but officials at MCI say they're working on a way for people to grab copies at night, while they're sleeping--and when tapping into the Net through long-distance telephone lines costs less. Now, if they could only do something about haute couture price tags...EDITED BY AMY CORTESE

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