Slinking into spring Fashion: It's a sexy time on the runways of New York, where everything's wrapped in body-hugging jersey. Go figure.


NEW YORK -- The cuts run to slinky, the colors to subdued, in the first days of the designer collections here. There've been no ruffles and flourishes, just simply sexy dresses that reveal the female form.

Jersey, from sport weight to nearly transparent veiling, will be the fabric of next season. Rather than concentrate on everyday summer wear, the powerhouse designers are showcasing lots of evening looks to make their mark for spring.

Carolina Herrera, the doyenne of the engraved invitation party dressers, showed a light touch in draped silk twills, stretch chiffons and bias cut georgettes. A halter slink in bias stripes worked the lines of the figure with geometric punch.

Isabel Toledo pushed jersey to greater limits, ruching it, wrapping it, slashing it, and cutting extra armholes under the armpit -- for more ventilation, no doubt.

The princess of jersey wraps, Diane von Furstenberg, staged her comeback with allure and gusto. Her famous little wraps so prevalent in the '70s, now worked in slippery silk, just kept on coming down a spiral staircase like money from heaven. There were wraps by the dozens -- sleeveless, cap-sleeve, halter, polo -- in an infinite variety of prints. This may be a one-trick pony approach, but it is a very intelligent trick, and sure to be embraced by women who want style and ease.

Sitting front row at Marc Jacobs' late, late show were Martha Stewart and Donald Trump (not together). One wonders what draws America's high-roller and America's household queen to a fashion show of classic cashmere sweaters and pleated skirts.

Fashion note: Gray was the new black for fall. Gray is now the new white for summer. Now, however, it may be called opal, gunmetal, silver, platinum, pewter, ice, birch or even gray.

Pub Date: 11/05/97

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