European trendies adapting good old American stylesMILAN...


European trendies adapting good old American styles

MILAN - Forget that nonsense you've maybe heard about how European women wouldn't be caught dead wearing jeans on the street. Blue jeans almost always faded, as opposed to acid-washed or straight-from-the-store indigo and a snazzy, blazer-style jacket is the uniform of choice among shoppers of all ages in the Milan Galleria.

And virtually every woman who isn't wearing jeans is wearing a short skirt and fishnet stockings.

(Incidentally, the Rizzoli bookstore in the Galleria devotes an entire window to "Rossella," by Alexandra Ripley. Doesn't ring any bells? Would it help if I told you it's il sequito di "Via Col Vento" by Margaret Mitchell?)

Verena Niemayer, Italian editor of Madam magazine and mother of teen-agers, offers these thoughts on teen trends in Italy:

Polo/Ralph Lauren shirts, in both polo and button-down styles, are major hot. The most coveted: a gray polo with a red polo pony emblem.

Going formal to celebrate one's 18th birthday. A boy must have a tuxedo, either purchased new or handed down from his father. A girl needs a fancy party dress from a designer line. OK, OK, a secondary designer line, then.

Teen-age girls are returning to dressmakers for their clothes. Interestingly, these girls aren't being dragged by their mothers most of whom are more casual these days, anyway but are searching out the seamstresses themselves, and not just for special-occasion clothing. The most-popular custom-made order? Classic, skirted suits in ultra-conservative gray wool.

Getting back to the adults, women with a sense of humor and a sizable bank balance always can turn to Franco Moschino for clothes that are impeccably made and a whole lot of fun in the bargain.

For the past two seasons, Moschino whose witty, irreverent approach has earned him a reputation as a fashion rebel has eschewed a formal runway presentation in favor of inviting fashion editors to visit his showroom, where they actually can touch the clothes and examine the masterful workmanship.

For spring '91, those include a logo that reads "Fashion, Fashoff," a silk crepe jacket with hand-painted wrinkles already in place, and a pair of taxicab shoes, complete with a license plate across the heel.

Sticking to the classics

If classics makes you think Chanel or Hermes, Gianni Versace would like your attention.

Versace's new Signature line will feature what the designer modestly calls "new classics." These will be some of his most popular items, which will be available every season from any retailer who carries the Versace line.

The designer is starting the Signature line with more than 100 of the prints for which he has become well-known, available in the form of silk shirts and scarves. The line also will include ties, jeans, leggings, shoes and accessories.

Versace prints are decidedly more sophisticated than the traditional horsey Hermes styles, ranging in inspiration from deco and classical masks to various Covent Garden ballets and Paris operas to images of the Madonna.

According to Versace spokesman Ed Filipowski, the print shirts routinely have sold out almost before reaching the stores each season, even at $2,000 a pop. A scarf, big enough to double as a table drape, sells for $300; neckties for about $250.

New items will be added each season, Filipowski says, as they become popular enough to be considered "Versace classics."

Nothing like defining your own legacy. Or organizing your own retrospective. But whoever accused fashion designers of being modest?

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