New looks and new lines Value: For spring, Isaac Mizrahi introduces a more affordable 'Labrador' to complement his 'French poodle' top line designs.; NYE FASHION

THE BALTIMORE SUN

NEW YORK -- The parks are in full fall color, but inside designer showrooms, theaters and tents in Manhattan's garment district, it's blooming fashion.

American and international designers -- 54 of them -- are showing press and retailers their ideas on next year's spring dressing. Irrepressible Isaac Mizrahi jumped the gun on his own designer show, inviting editors to brunch and dish and preview his secondary and less expensive Is**c, although obviously starry line.

Like other fashion stars, he recognizes there is a limited market ,, for high-end designer prices so he's whipping up snappy turnouts for real women.

"I don't believe that a customer who can afford designer clothes is better than anyone else," he says. "In my case, the collection is the French poodle and the secondary line is the Labrador. Both good but different."

His sporty separates, zippy but appropriate to any country club setting, were color-saturated as in a fuchsia shirt jacket, chartreuse shell and aquamarine pants. He predicted, however, that brown will be a very important color for spring.

And so it was.

Bitter brown, moth brown along with cooked kale green, and murky port was seen at the premiere of Donna Karan's new label. You could call it a tertiary line. We now have D -- a cut above DKNY but not quite up to herself's signature collection.

She called it D for directional, definitive and daring.

Got that right. The nylon jersey doubleknit tube dresses were more naked than skin because they shadowed every dimple and bump common to the female figure.

In early days here, that seems to be the direction.

Versus, the lesser line from Versace, was equally slippery. It was the kickoff show of the week in the biggest tent venue -- one able to hold some 1,200 fashion followers.

And it was the first chance to celebrity gawk, for sliding into the front row were Jon Bon Jovi and that cover couple Elizabeth Hurley and Hugh Grant. She looked sleek in a persimmon suit while he looked sleepy and rumpled in velvet. Cute.

On the runway were mighty tricky clothes. Jagged hems, ragged hems, floating fishtails, fluttering capes, trains and togas. All very sheer, very bare, and very clingy.

Haven't we tried this before? Designers, like TV weathermen, are allowed to keep on working until they get it right.

Style alert: Remember Candies? Those high-heeled tarty clogs with the nailhead finish?

They're back.

Pub Date: 10/28/96

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