Fall Essentials

August 29, 1999|By Gailor Large | Gailor Large,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Indulge. Wrap up. Accessorize. Pay tribute to the past. Celebrate the future.

This season's collections have shaken up fashion with their extravagance and unpredictability. An infusion of millennium-inspired fashions and the staying power of a number of recent trends ('70s, bold color, survivalwear) have filled the runways with a wild assortment of styles.

While some designers are getting nostalgic as January 2000 approaches, others are racing ahead. This season, anything goes: from classic to modern, fitted to flowing, ethnic to futuristic.

While there are no boundaries for fall, here are the essentials.

Wild horses; Ponyskin is the newest member of fashion's animal kingdom. You name it, you'll find it in ponyskin. Add a touch of the wild with a pony handbag or boots, or go entirely untamed in a mid-calf ponyskin skirt. Sharing the runways with ponyskin are zebra, crocodile, beaver and alligator.

Creature of the month? Skunk. It made an appearance at the Louis Vuitton show.

New flames; To add spice to our closets full of gray, hues with longer wavelengths are giving fall a burst of color. Orange, red and yellow are everywhere, brightening daywear and creating nighttime drama. While Byblos' orange flannel slacks were a great complement to black, Ralph Lauren's brilliant display of orange and red left observers dazzled.

Extra-large: Oversized knits, turtlenecked with huge cuff sleeves, are an easy, fashion-forward option for fall. The tunic sweater is a great companion to the slim dark denim jean, which remains hot this season. The chunkier your knit, the better. If you can see your chin or your hands, it's one size too small.

Off-kilter: Slanted hems and asymmetrical seams are giving fall fashion a quirky tilt.

While some cuts and prints are straight out of a geometry textbook, others, such as Donna Karan's quilted cotton skirt, prove that geometry and subtle folds can go hand-in-hand.

Details, details: This season has all the fixings. Say goodbye to bare necks, unassuming footwear and plain black handbags.

* For winter warmth, pashmina (a cashmere woven with silk) is stealing the show. Look for it in brightly colored scarves and wraps.

* Try a little tweed. A gray tweed hat is classic and chic.

* Knee-high boots are the footwear of choice, with clogs and slingbacks not far behind.

* Jewelry is finding ethnic inspiration, particularly from the Far East. Look for delicate layered necklaces, as well as turquoise, chokers and cuff bracelets.

* Replace your purse with a handbag in an old-fashioned knit or animal print. (We loved Fendi's ponyskin versions.)

Bohemian chic: It's hippie with a metropolitan twist. Distressed denim, brown leather, overvests, patchwork and feathers are all part of the newest adaptation of retro fashion. Although the style has an ethnic feel and western flavor, it's unmistakably urban.

Rich and cozy: Cashmere is adding a soft elegance to fall. This luxury fabric adds panache when worn under a parka. It even works now as legwear: Gucci's stretch pant is a dressy separate. The great thing about cashmere? Buy it in a neutral shade, and it may last a lifetime.

Star gazing: Many designers turned the catwalk into a space station with galactic pants and technology-inspired designs. Alexander McQueen's glow-in-the-dark computer chip prints on barely-there dresses caused a stir in Paris, and Helmut Lang modernized the straight trouser by turning it silver. Want to acknowledge the millennium without sporting a space suit? Try a touch of "millennium" (sky) blue.

Pub Date: 08/29/99

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