In short, gladdest rags go plaid


A trend is a trend is a trend. And fall's fashion trends are emerging with the daffodils as top designers unveil their collections in temporary tents in Bryant Park in Manhattan's garment district.

Poet Gertrude Stein, whose bronze statue has been covered over with canvas to form the models' changing area, might have difficulty defining so succinctly the yards of fake fur and plastic evening dresses parading the runway.

Donna Karan was the first powerhouse designer to show in the 800-seat big top with her secondary DKNY line. A trend is a trend when Donna taps into it, and this fall's message is bright, short and perky. Did anyone really believe monastic drab would take? She showed neon evening dresses made of scuba-suit neoprene cut in a full-skirted princess shape. Very girly. Also very young were schoolgirl plaid jumpers and plaid taffeta ballerina tutus shown with stiff black tulle crinolines and quilted hunting vests so as not to appear too precious.

The madness for plaid is showing up in many collections. Adrienne Vittadini's traditional kilts and skorts were the snap in a fine show of luscious and cuddly knits. Look for lots of cuddly and fuzzy next fall. Even Nicole Miller -- whose collection was thoroughly modern, with shiny bodysuits the base for futuristic dressing -- topped shorts and skirts with fluffy mohair sweaters.

There are few creatures left that haven't been fauxed or plucked to trim designer collars, cuffs and hemlines -- ostrich at Anne Klein, ocelot at Byron Lars, fantasy curly lamb at Randy Kemper. We're sure to see more of the wild kingdom as the shows continue. For the first time, the collections sponsored by the Council of Fashion Designers run a full week, giving young and new talent an opportunity to participate.

One of the newcomers was to be the Sunday debut of a plus-size-line bearing the Roseanne Barr label. In a contractual dispute, the plus-size star won a restraining order, which expires today, against the use of her name by the CelebSales company. Will they show? Will she? Will they settle? Too bad these things can't be worked out in a round of mud wrestling.

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