Here, Daria, formerly on staff at WWD and now a features editor for Women's World, offers a fascinating peek at the inner workings of five fashion companies. Liz Claiborne and Adrienne Vittadini both produce huge quantities of relatively inexpensive clothes overseas. Arnold Scaasi and Bill Blass design mostly fantastically pricey clothes for a tiny clientele. Donna Karan has made her mark with comfortable, sophisticated clothes for working women. Daria observes each straggle with the demands of producing a collection: the never-ending need for ideas (which leads some to plunder books, movies, and their competitors' offerings for inspiration); the logistical nightmares of production, especially for those who manufacture abroad; the need to win over the fickle fashion press. In each case, what's involved is grueling. A travelogue of Vittadini's sample-correcting trip to Hong Kong (a trip she makes several times a year), during which she and her staff clocked endless days going over garments in their hotel rooms, will dispel any misconception that the fashion life is glamorous. Blass seems to be the one enjoying himself most: he's charming, organized, and industrious--and he cultivates his connections with the rich and famous as carefully as he does his collections. Scaasi is elegant but imperious with his underlings. And Karan is open about the toll of success-imposed pressures; her workday is punctuated with exchanges with her strong-willed 16-year-old daughter. Fashion insiders will Fred much gossip-grist here, but anyone with voyeuristic leanings will lap up these closely observed accounts of the goings-on in pressure-cooker workplaces.