Consider men at a formal occasion. All those tuxedos, all that black and white. Sort of like a penguin encounter, isn't it!

Admittedly, it's the traditional way to dress; the accepted thing to do. But why not add a little life to the party by wearing something colorful and creative for a change?People at the California Mart in Los Angeles liked the idea. So, on invitations to their recent Marty Awards they specified California Creative Black Tie.

"We invented the term," explained Ron Arden, director of menswear at the mart. "We didn't want anyone showing up in the customary formal stuff. California has a reputation for being a fun, hip place . . . and that's the fashion spirit we wanted to capture."

Ladies, who've never gone in for the penguin image, came to the event in spangles, bangles and beads. One young woman, really in the spirit of things, wore a veiled cocktail hat, sparkling striped tights, a slinky black dress, evening gloves and long strands of pearls.

But the men did OK, too. They met the challenge.

Actor Robert Urich, the guest celebrity who presented Marty Awards to outstanding West Coast menswear designers, wore a navy dotted tuxedo. To complement the off-beat tux, the star of "Lonesome Dove" and "Spenser for Hire" used a big pin in place of a bow tie - a collage of watch faces.

Menswear model Richard Villella put tie and formal jacket with his trusty 501 Levis. To accent the outfit: black loafers and white socks.

Luciano Franzoni, Italian-born designer, looked like a model in his dramatic Japanese kimono. (He bought it in Chicago.)

Lance Whitaker, general merchandising manager of apparel for BASF Fibers, also opted for a kimono instead of traditional tux.

Creative scarves were almost as much in evidence at the Marty party as kimonos. Luis Beto, an assistant designer with Glenn Williams, wore a colorful and eye-catching one draped over his shoulders. Scarves, in his opinion, can be a great formal accessory for men.

Interesting dinner jackets can be great accessories, too. Rick Vogler of Wembly Ties wore a wild leopard print by Tony Lambert to the awards ceremony. Lambert himself showed up in one made of upholstery material.

Designer Ronn Savala looked very innovative in a velvet jacket and skirt worn over pants. Still another designer, Cosme, attracted a lot of attention in his Nehru-styled top handwoven in France. And George Machado gave his outfit a creative touch by pinning the corsage he received as a Marty Awards nominee on the jacket lapel.

The winner of the seventh annual Marty Menswear Awards was James Cavaricci for Z Cavaricci. He was chosen by press and retailers from a field of outstanding West Coast designers. Dick Chen for Ca Va was the Rising Star Award recipient.