Klein, Karan spring ahead of retro pack Fashion: Designers' look for fall is long and lean in a river of colors -- as long as they're brown or navy.

April 04, 1996|By Vida Roberts | Vida Roberts,SUN FASHION EDITOR

NEW YORK -- Long, lean and clean is the way we should be dressing next fall. Calvin Klein and Donna Karan made that clear on the last day of more than a week crowded with 50-plus designer presentations.

Klein and Karan looked to the future instead of the past, unlike some of their fellows who got mired in the worst of '70s retro.

Time to move ahead. We could be seeing a subliminal influence of "Star Trek" uniforms, which at any given moment are being seen on reruns somewhere on this Earth.

Asymmetric triangular blocks were the only adornment on the fluid matte jersey dresses Calvin Klein sent down the runway. The fabrics appeared both weightless and clinging as in some sort of miracle of technology. The triangle was repeated in his new silhouette, which widens from a narrow shoulder to the hem of dresses, maxicoats and flared pants. He extended his signature minimalism even further to soft cardigans and precise shirt jackets with a hint of military detail in patch flap pockets and shoulder flanges.

His colors were dark, nearly black, but with an interior glow of plum, coffee or forest green.

Donna Karan celebrated the female form with unforgiving and revealing foundations she calls bodyhose. They're poured on and just as sheer as pantyhose. Some had selectively placed opaque pockets and vested fronts to preserve modesty and they were the base for the best poured-on stretch pants to walk any of this season's runways. Karan showed poured-on jumpsuits, too, with a never-you-mind of how to peel out of them in close quarters. Perhaps supermodels are spared rest stops.

For more coverage, Karan showed spare and attenuated jackets, luscious long and short coats in luxury wools, cashmere and silks with built-in stretch.

Start on that fad protein diet now or pray for a genetic engineering breakthrough on cellulite.

Designer shows with all their stage effects have a dreamlike air, but there will be real and significant fashion changes when clothes start arriving in stores for fall. Here's what's coming:

The pantsuit. Every designer had one and you will, too. ......TC modern way to dress for all day. In matched fabrics, it gives the illusion of height and slimness and who wouldn't want that?

The knit dress. It's not your mother's Kimberly. Double-knits are going soft with elastic fiber knit in for Is it a short coat or a long jacket? Never mind. It hovers somewhere above the knee and is body-seamed to accent the waist or belted to define it. Look for it in leather to be worn with everything.

The trench. It can be a coat, a dress, a jacket-shirt.

The hidden closure. Is there a button strike? They were scarce or color-matched to blend in with the fabric. Retire those glitzy labels with pounds of gold status logo buttons. Zippers and placket fronts look newest.

The color. Chocolate, cocoa, mahogany, sienna, copper lightning up to bronze and camel. There was a brown-out on the runways. A reminder to the timid: It's not just OK to wear brown with black, it's fashion smart. Ditto for navy.

The other color. Purple, or aubergine to you fashionettes.

Pub Date: 4/04/96

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