Fashion is softer, prettier, and more romantic this spring, thankfully without losing the fast-forward, modern edge we learned to put on last fall. But designers offer fewer spring clothes than ever to accommodate earth women who must bend and stretch, network, and climb professional ladders. They seem instead to have sewn up a fantasy, turning out fabulous-looking clothes-especially for evening and for fun-that showcase femininity” and beg for center stage, with little thought given to wardrobing for the real world.
Designers have drawn a season of lovely extremist trends. Fabrics are rich and supple, silhouettes refined and uncomplicated. Summer can be as simple as slipping into a minimal number of easy pieces, the look understated but attention-grabbing. Skirts are most often very short, even shorter than the ones smart women wore last season. But this time, they’ll seem even more so on legs clad in neutral stockings.
Clear, bright color is in the news, brilliant as a mixed match of solids, and even more desirable in watercolor prints-some of the best rich, Proustian profusions of roses. And there are serene summer neutrals and monotonal ensembles to romance the more faint of heart.
There’s a lot of bareness: shoulders, necklines, midriffs, legs all get maximum exposure in clothing exquisitely cut and simply tailored, and through designers’ preference for sheer, feminine fabrics.
It’s spring. What better season to give in and go for it?
Popping up in almost every collection this spring as the seasonal alternative to baring all are polished city shorts, fluttery shorts skirts in semi-sheer fabrics, and form-flattering, high-waisted pants. This page: Carmelo Pomodoros romantic vision for casual summer evenings: a sculpted 7/Ss jacket and dress-up shorts in cream silk gabardine over a cotton lace shell. In Dallas at Loretta Blum, The Gazebo, and Stanley Korshak. Left: Donna Karan’s stone silk shawl-collar jacket and crocheted boater. At The Gazebo and Neiman-Marcus.
Hair and makeup throughout fry Gunda Shaw. Model: Joko, Elite Model Management.
Summer’s strong suits offer relaxed tailoring without sacrificing the feminine silhouette. Show off in a new wave of intelligent jackets, most short enough to showcase a svelte waistline and hips, others unstructured suggestions of coverage to pull on over a linen halter or a strapless boustier. Above: Patricia Pastors fresh, intelligent use of color in the collection for Perry Ellis: a pure and simple silk shantung suit worn with one of spring’s great white shirts. At Neiman-Marcus. Right: From one of Seventh Avenue’s newest minimalists, designer Isaac Mizrahi, a clean-lined splash of high-octane orange: short, to the point, must have. From the Mizrahi collection at Neiman-Marcus. Studio Steel credenza and table by Steven Hensel to the trade at David Sutherland.
Visible after dark this spring: afresh approach to evening dressing that takes a cue from ballet. Left: From the elegant excellent collection by Ralph Lauren: a soft, tiered skirt and sash in paled pastels of silk taffeta, worn with a simple halter in basic black silk jersey. At The Polo Shop for Ralph Lauren. Bloomingdale’s, and Neiman-Marcus. Above: Part of Byblos’s stand-out approach to dressing for dinner: the Audrey Hepburn blouse and softened dirndl skirt in gauzy black organza struck by purple blossoms. At The Gazebo, Stanley Korshak, Lou Lattimore, and Neiman-Marcus. Josef Hoffmann’s chair to the trade at I.C.F.
The best of the seasonal fantasy is artful, rich, and effusive. Above: From Christian Lacroix’s Luxe collection, a sweet valentine parfait: peplumed boustier and skirt blossoming with spring’s most elegant roses. Exclusively in Dallas at Neiman-Marcus. Right: From Yves Saint Laurent’s collection of Degas-inspired dance dresses: the soft pink ingenue’s tulle. Exclusively in Dallas at Lou Lattimore. Production assistance for The Dallas Look: Shelly Powell and Kathryn Alcott.