This fall designers have distilled some of the best fashion innovations of this century and streamlined them for its last decade. Daytime silhouettes are clean and spare, with the interest in patterns and textures rather than trimmings. Evening dressing acknowledges the need for fantasy and a touch of drama.

These are ideas we have seen before, but softer fabrications, built-in stretch and high-tech finishes make them new.


There are hints of the '30s, when every occasion meant dressing and fashion meant polish. Then Mademoiselle Chanel put a modern spin on fashion and took it out to cafe society. Conversation and coffee are again in style as are vintage Coco flourishes -- dark glasses, black turtlenecks and easy jerseys.

The '40s are also making a strong fall statement -- tailored suits in menswear patterns much like those worn by the women of the war era who flaunted convention and confidently appropriated men's work and trousers. In the same way, today's moderns are pushing pantsuits as appropriate business attire.


Variations of the '60s are the most startling fashion reprisal this season. They're retro, yes, but hardly old-fashioned. The space-age '60s were the decade of visionary designers who conjured up clothes to suit the technology-driven world we would one day occupy. That day is now. Pierre Cardin and Rudi Gernreich may then have been premature with their zippers, moon suits and plastic, but now technology has caught up and designers are using ideas, fabrics and hardware born of the space age.

Even the '80s, that decade of conspicuous glitz, has been granted fashion forgiveness, and shoulder pads and power pink are emerging in some lines in a lower wattage and narrower cut.

L Time travel without extra baggage is the new way of fashion.



Cover -- Jacket, $88, by Free People for Urban Outfitters at Black Market. Jeans, $150, by Choice at Noir.

Page 14 -- Dress, $128, and jacket, $128, by Liz Claiborne at Hecht's. Bag, $35, at Precis. Gloves, $54, by Aris at Hecht's.

Page 16 (left) -- Coat, $2,000, by Escada at Saks Fifth Avenue. Vest, $330, by Vakko at Nordstrom. Pants, $170, by Garfield and Marks at Noir. Bag, $140, by Kate Spade at Femme. Boots, $200, by Stuart Weitzman at Nordstrom. Gloves, $60, at Saks Fifth Avenue.


Page 16 (top right) -- Jacket, $290, and jeans, $116, by Magaschoni at Femme. Glasses, $95, by Oakley at Bernard Shear Opticians.

Page 16 (bottom right) -- Jacket, $1,089, and pants, $374, by Russell Bennett at Ruth Shaw. Bag, $118, at Nordstrom. Shoes, $350, by Robert Clergerie at Joanna Gray.

Page 17 -- Jacket, $435, skirt, $225, and coat, $750, by Emanuel at Saks Fifth Avenue. Blouse, $79, at the White House. Pumps, $195, by Stuart Weitzman at Nordstrom.

Page 18 -- Suit, $1,810, by Escada at Saks Fifth Avenue. Earrings, $105, at Octavia.

Page 19 (left) -- Jacket, $310, pants, $170, and blouse, $110, by Eric B at Trillium. Bag, $224, by Jennifer Graham at Femme. Shoes, $192, by Stuart Weitzman at Saks Fifth Avenue. Pin, $38, by Jane Rosen at Lexington Lady.

Page 19 (right) -- Coat, $712, by Nic Janik to order at Escada (800) 223-2155. Beret, $34, by Summer Tompkins at Femme. Gloves, $58, at Octavia. Glasses, $80, by Spy at Bernard Shear Opticians.


Page 20 -- Dress, $275, by Lauren Kirk at Montage D'Elegance.

Page 21 -- Gown, $1,900, by Vicki Soble at Octavia. Shoes, $200, by Stuart Weitzman at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Styling by Pascale Lemaire. Assisted by Aisha Queen. Hair by Jeffrey Woodley/Zoli Illusions. Makeup by Eric Spearman/Zoli Illusions. Models: Sunita/New Faces, Belinda/Zoli, Sherry/Nova Models. Thanks to Westminster House for production help.