The Softer Season Power dressing is out as light, loose looks come flowing in

February 28, 1993|By Vida Roberts

The fashion revolution of the '90s has happened -- a gentle coup. Clothes we see this spring anticipate ways we will dress for the rest of the decade -- soft, languid and romantic -- an about-face from the rigid, suited-up uniform that has been dominant.

Change can be disconcerting. There was a period of denial with the reappearance of '70s-inspired bell-bottoms and platform shoes. Yes, we'll be seeing some radical retro and aggressive grunge clones, but they are only a footnote to the story this spring.

Softness is liberating. Industrial-strength fabrics and heavy construction that bind the body have given way to featherweight fabrics that caress, and relaxed lines.

The news is long and layered -- vest over blouse, tunic under jacket, skirt over pants or all together. Yet the look is light and effortless, built on sheer and weightless fabrics.

Tailors who had ruled fashion have been supplanted by dressmakers, with no apologies for prettiness. The vintage influence is strong in dresses with feminine details such as ruffles, tucks, and embroidery sprinkled over a fresh garden of prints.

Jackets are longer, looser, unlined and sometimes sleeveless -- to be worn over a poet blouse that furls gracefully at the neck and wrist.

Pants are basics for day and evening; never clinging, never taut. The easiest to wear are cut as loose as a pajama, in soft silks, cottons and jerseys. When pants are narrow, an overskirt or tunic relaxes their line.

Movement, not length, is the key to this spring's skirts, which may hover anywhere between knee and ankle. The prettiest are full and long and wrap the legs gently.

This is the spring to let go of power dressing and try for a new comfort level in fashion.

Production and styling by Pascale Lemaire, with assistance by Charlotte Reid. Hair by Kevin Depew. Makeup by Geri Falek. Modeled by Michelle Gilbert/New Faces, Torrey Terrel/Ford, Hank Matt/3 West Casting and Heather Casler/3 West Casting.

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