Today's trend setters drawing ideas from Sixties flower children


By the end of the fall season, trend watchers will feel as though they've been used as the rope in a game of tug of war. Tug this way and you've got a '60s revival. Tug that way and you've got the "slouch approach." Tug another way and your guilt strings get tweaked.

Let's deal with the guilt first and the rest will be easier. The guilt stems from what's happening to the environment. The ecology issues that were highlighted last April during the 20th anniversary of Earth Day have spilled over into the fashion industry, and designers are scrambling to cash in by playing on the guilt of all those former flower-power children of the '60s.

Not only are they using earth colors this season, but also socially responsible themes like Indian blanket patterns, animal motifs or foliage prints. Most designers are using fake furs instead of real and those who use the real thing are dyeing it to look fake. Some companies are even printing environmental messages on hang tags.

Since designers are trying so hard to get the attention of the former flower children, it's logical that there's a strong '60s revival for fall fashion. Tie-dye, skinny pants, boots, big collars or no collars on jackets, short skirts, shorts with tights and granny glasses are just a few of the resurrected ideas to haunt the fall season.

In New York, women are going so far as to wear their hair in French twists and are pasting on false eyelashes a la Brigitte Bardot. Men are back to three-button suits with short lapels and bell-bottom pants. The only thing missing are pop-art and psychedelic prints.

Even the top designers are adding hints of the '60s to their collections. Bill Blass designed an evening dress with fringe from shoulders to floor. Rebecca Moses has velvet-and-lace jeans and ostrich capes in hot pink.

That brings us to the slouch. In fashion, the slouch approach is a way of arranging clothes so they look slightly unmatched, rather casual and a bit ill-fitting. For example, a slouch look would be a short skirt with a blouse that's tucked into the back, but untucked in the front ... or leggings with a jacket ... or a sweater so oversized it looks as if it might fall off the shoulders.

Donna Karan brought this movement to the attention of the fashion industry with last year's boyfriend jacket a jacket that fit so oversized it looked as though it belonged to someone else. She even removed the shoulder pads to make it look more oversized. Karan followed that with giant sweaters that look stretched out of shape. She paired those jackets and sweaters with leggings or stirrup pants for a big-over-slim silhouette.

For men the slouch look is in the shape of an unconstructed jacket which means no shoulder pads, little interfacing and sometimes no lining. Often a cardigan sweater is worn untucked under the jacket. Trousers are draped and frequently pant legs are tubular (no crease).

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