Women who believe in fashion will need a touch of silver polish.
This spring and summer, silver is new, gold is old.
Designers who establish the trends have spoken. Top fashion magazines which chronicle every seasonal nuance are getting the word out.
It happened at the spring collections when silver shimmer popped up on many runways. Nicole Miller had zippy jackets, Todd Oldham did a shiny leather vest and pants, Richard Tyler showed a long drift of diaphanous shimmer, Anna Sui cut bomber and biker jackets in pink and baby blue tinted silver leather. Donna Karan, whose show was the grand finale of fashion week, put the ultimate stamp of approval on silver with a sleek body suit, trench and wrap skirt.
Where does that leave women who are just beginning to feel comfortable with gold metallics? They'll be fine. Nobody suggests a quicksilver turn to total heavy metallica, just a clean silver piece or two to show they're paying attention.
"The Donna Karan silvers sold very well at our trunk show," says Chi Chi Labarraque, regional fashion director for Saks Fifth Avenue.
"Only one woman bought the look head to toe. Not many people want to make that kind of statement and call attention to themselves. Most women picked up the skirt to wear with a tank or blazer, or the trench to wear with everything."
Designer silver is pricey, a tank top may cost as much as a sterling sugar and creamer, but Ms. Labarraque predicts the lower-priced knockoffs will soon be trickling into stores. In the meantime, the silver look can be had in pieces and doesn't require rolling dimes for days. Here's how:
* Shop at home. Get out the polish and revive all those bits that have gone black with tarnish and you're halfway there.
* Hit the hosiery counter for shimmer. Hot Sox has silvery tights, knee-highs and anklets which look hot with summer white.
* Think ahead to summer sandals. Kathy Scherr, owner of Comfort Country shoes, has just returned from the shoe shows in Las Vegas and reports that Birkenstocks are being shown with silver trim. Ditto for Doc Martens which are being given a pewtery pearlized finish. Is this a trend or what?
Gilder Meakin, shoe buyer for Nordstrom's Brass Plum, its faster and hipper shoe department, is mining for silver among various manufacturers.
"We're looking at many lines, and will be bringing more silver as the season heats up toward May."
* Look for silver all over the store -- belts, bags, luggage, the sport shop. Silver has a real edge in outdoorsy parkas and windbreakers. Remember the Donna's trench? Drizzle has a silvery raincoat that hits the trend right on the button. Jane Lippman, fashion director for the rainwear maker says it's not a Karan knock-off, but it's close. "Our coat is a pewtery treated nylon, very lightweight," says Ms. Lippman, "and it has the new crinkle finish which gives you two trends in one item."
* Who can wear the silver shades? Carole Jackson, founder of the "Color Me Beautiful" philosophy says everyone can, but not always close to the face. She separates skin tones into seasons. "Winter and summer complexions with neutral or cool coloring are silver naturals." she says. "That includes women with blue-black, ash-brown hair.
"Spring and fall complexions with peachy or warm tints and red, gold blond or auburn hair should separate silver from the skin and use it as a clothing accent. However, a touch of silver gives life and highlights to gray hair."
* Silver doesn't have to glint like foil wrap. It can have the soft sheen of platinum, a matte finish like pewter or deep and dark gunmetal.
* White and silver are natural partners. For a cheap and chic fashion statement this summer, scrap all your jewelry, toss on white jeans and a tank top and finish it off with drugstore silver mirrored sunglasses. An easy way out for women who want to be on track without looking like Judy Jetson.
ON THE COVER
Styling by Suzin Boddiford
Photo by Robert K. Hamilton
Hair and makeup by Dawn Wolf for Etches Salon
Modeled by Marianne Goco/3 West Casting
Silverized, hooded parka by ABS, $195, from the Red Garter. Sunglasses by Jean Paul Gaultier, $365, from Bernard Shear Opticians.