It's full-fettle jackets for fall, no question

September 16, 1993|By Lisa Anderson | Lisa Anderson,Chicago Tribune

Under all the lace and velvet, sturdy tweed and filmy chiffon, fall fashion's modern fantasies of Edwardian dandies, Russian officers and Scottish Highlanders are built on old-fashioned jackets.

Romantic is the operative word this season, as international designers ransack archives to revive vintage jacket shapes drawn from across the centuries and across the globe, from the snowy Tyrolean Alps to the misty English hunt country.

Blowing the dust off the foppish styles first set in the drawing rooms of late 19th-century London, designers on both sides of the Atlantic dote on dandy looks this season.

The dandy's penchant for white shirts with long, lacy cuffs may have inspired the current fad for large French cuffs -- worn loose to flap fashionably over the knuckles -- but his nipped-waisted jackets clinch the look.

In New York, Bill Blass dressed his dandy in a white shirt with floppy, ruffled cuffs peeking out from the sleeves of a long, red frock jacket with gold buttons in golden buttonholes. In Paris, the buttons were gold, but the crimson jacket was short and curvy over tight black breeches and thigh-high boots in Karl Lagerfeld's collection for Chanel.

In Milan, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana envisioned their distaff dandy in a long, fitted amethyst velvet jacket with frog closures and marabou trim over a long, narrow skirt.

The jacket also provides the linchpin of the season's military motif. The martial theme plays through everything from side-buttoned Russian tunic jackets at Ralph Lauren and navy cashmere pea jackets at Gianni Versace to the silver-buttoned, braid-trimmed, loden Alpine troop jackets at Franco Moschino and the Indonesian-inspired short, tight, sky-blue mess jackets at Rifat Ozbek.

Primarily long and fitted, the season's jackets top a myriad of pantsuit looks, paired with pants that ranged from very wide to leggings with spatlike hems. The newest look, with a nod to the turn-of-the-century period, is a jacket that buttons high near the collarbone, as Calvin Klein did it.

The sexiest way to wear it is over nothing more than a vest, as Giorgio Armani showed his collarless jackets done in pale-toned herringbone tweeds and plaids.

Although tailored shapes in haber--ery tweeds and plaids are key, jackets are hardly left out of the current knitwear revival.

Among the best of the new, knitted jackets was Versace's gold-buttoned, double-breasted version in navy cableknit with satin-trimmed pockets worn over a long, matching tube skirt.

And, in a cover-up season, jackets take a star turn in eveningwear this fall, from a richly embroidered gold lace jacket over a long, narrow black skirt at Gianfranco Ferre to a black velvet pantsuit frosted with white lace at Complice.

Whatever the inspiration this fall, from Oscar Wilde to Beau Geste, the jacket sets the mood.

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