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'80s flashback on the runway

THE BALTIMORE SUN

NEW YORK - As if it weren't bad enough that the '80s began making a comeback this fall, the news from Fashion Week is that designers seem determined to keep that dastardly decade around for a while.

Marc Jacobs - one of more than 100 designers who unveiled spring collections this week - was all but ordering a revival of '80s non-chic. The models wore jersey T-shirt dresses with thick belts and fat, colorful bows in their hair like Madonna used to do.

Anna Sui trotted out models in purple, yellow, electric blue and hot pink dresses and skirts with big rips in them. Even Joop!'s male models came out in suits with the sleeves pushed up a la Don Johnson in "Miami Vice."

Not all, however, were averse to the trend.

"I love the '80s," said Beyonce Knowles, lead singer of R&B; trio Destiny's Child, who showed up at the Vivienne Tam show in the designer's garb. "I was born in the '80s - in 1981."

Some outfits on the runways brought back terrifying memories of big hair, chunky shoulder-duster earrings and bright-colored lace gloves with the fingers cut off. Who would have thought designers would bring back those big belts that begin under the bustline and end somewhere below the waist?

But the '80s seemed to work when designers incorporated parts of the decade into an overall chic look.

Carolina Herrera's collection included some one-shoulder or off-the-shoulder evening dresses that were elegantly nipped at the waist with a belt. Randolph Duke brought back the cowl neck with style. His suede or beaded tops had a feminine, flowy feel. And BCBG Max Azria introduced cute dresses with elastic waistbands and soft blouses with billowy sleeves that were cuffed at the wrist.

Before taking her front row seat at Randolph Duke, "Sex and the City" star Kim Cattrall said she liked what she'd seen of the neo-'80s style.

"It reminds me of my youth," said Cattrall, looking ab-fab in Earl jeans and a vintage YSL cotton-candy pink ruffled blouse. "I just wish I'd kept my outfits, but I gave them all away. Now I'll have to rebuy them at twice the price."

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