Full-blown fashions

Inside Fashion

December 12, 1991|By Edited by Catherine Cook | Edited by Catherine Cook,New York Times News Service

Short, bouncy dresses with full skirts rank high in retailers' orders for spring, manufacturers report. Long, slinky styles made with seductive slits caused the most comment at last month's fashion shows because they were new and somewhat controversial. But as the confirmed orders come in from stores around the country, it is clear that short, flaring styles are in the ascendancy.

Designer Donna Karan called the bouffant look "one of the safest shapes at a time of many choices."

Isaac Mizrahi concentrated on longer, more avant-garde shapes for spring, but he did not leave out short, bouncy clothes. "They're selling, so I love them," he said. "I think they will turn up for cocktail parties and even black-tie dinners. A few seasons ago, slim, dressy dresses were the rage. Now I think these puffy styles will take their place."

Five years ago, Christian Lacroix's pouf and bubble dresses established the fashion for short dressy clothes, as well as his own reputation. The current styles are not as intricately cut and are far easier to wear.

While the narrow styles that replaced the pouf had an affinity with the 1960s, the current short dresses carry echoes of the 1950s. This is emphasized by wide belts and petticoats popular in the '50s. The knee-baring hem length makes a sharp break from the '50s styles, however, giving these clothes their very young spirit.

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