Lookout

updated 03/08/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/08/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

Jasper Conran, 22, counts the Princess of Wales, the Duchess of Kent, Bianca Jagger and Spanish model Amparo (left) among the clients who wear his simply stated yet classic dresses. "I design," he says loftily, "for the intelligent working woman." And, he need not add, for the wealthy one. A Conran daytime frock, for example, fashioned in silk, linen or light wool, sells for $200 to $600. Jasper is the son of home-furnishings multimillionaire Terance Conran, who separated from the boy's mother, author Shirley Conran, when Jasper was 2. At 13, he began designing while attending Bryanston, a boarding school in Dorset. Two years later he entered the Parsons School of Design in New York, designing for several exclusive shops on the side, and at 18 went into business for himself in London. "Because of my age and my name, I had run into office politics everywhere," he explains. "I thought, 'If you're going to do things right, you might as well do them yourself.' " At first, shut out of the high-fashion shops, Jasper sold exclusively to private customers. When he ran into cash-flow problems, an inherited trust fund and a backer saw him through. Now his designs are selling in stores in the U.S., Japan, Europe, Australia and South Africa, and he is grossing $1 million a year. "We are," he says, "a slick and sharply run company."

Heather Soderberg was all of 2 when she astounded her father, sculptor John Soderberg, with her first work, an inch-high group of five women done in wax. Soderberg cast his daughter's work in bronze and entered it in a competition against sixth graders. Five Women took first place and earned its precocious creator her first astonished critical praise. Now 6, the young artist, whose oeuvre is displayed at the West Side Gallery in Phoenix, Ariz., has produced 250 sculptures with themes ranging from The Flying Dragon (far right) to The French Mountain Man (right). Seventy-six pieces from her collection have been sold at prices from $65 to $150. Through a twist of fate, the value of Heather's work was enhanced by a fire last September that destroyed the Soderberg home and studio. Only one of Heather's molds was saved, The French Mountain Man. As a result, The Flying Dragon, which gallery owner Ruth Magadini bought for $75 only last fall, is now a unique piece worth $800. A first grader at Sechrist Elementary School, Heather keeps a $1,500 bank account, signs checks and picks up the tab for such luxuries as a new bicycle and a family trip to McDonald's. "When I get bigger," says Heather, "I'm going to still be an artist. I'm going to stop when I die, and that will be a long time from now."

From Our Partners