- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 10, 2007

NEW YORK

There’s more classic tailoring on the New York Fashion Week runways than in recent memory, and there’s also a lot of shine. Designers are still making the case that fall is about chunky knit sweaters, but they have slimmed down the overall silhouette after a few seasons of over-the-top volume.

“There’s a lot of suiting, which is terrific, and a return to great tailoring,” said Nicole Fischelis, fashion director of Macy’s East. “There’s also a lot of day-to-evening and evening-to-day. They’re active clothes for a real lifestyle,” she said Monday from the front row at Carolina Herrera.

Fashion Week was attended last week by retailers, editors and stylists.

Carolina Herrera: Miss Herrera presented a rich, textured fall line that will give her chic uptown customer something new and fresh to wear without stepping out of her comfort zone.

The first look, a black wool felt top and skirt, was elegant and unfussy but full of interesting cutout details. A gray cashmere textured sweater worn over an ivory blouse and super-wide-leg pants showed that though Miss Herrera is known for suits and evening wear, she certainly holds her weight in the world of chunky, cozy knits.

Miss Herrera’s fur-trimmed cashmere scarves — complete with pockets — looked particularly tempting on a frigid day.

The designer said she had focused on a juxtaposition of texture, dimension and color. The palette, including a periwinkle-like “captain blue,” purple, gray, poppy red and bark brown came from an Edvard Munch portrait of Hans Jaeger, she said.

The silhouettes were narrower than most of the styles previewed up to that point during Fashion Week, and that might be what made this collection seem particularly pulled together.

Also, the wool coats and jackets had some swing and bounce, which kept the overall outfit from looking too buttoned-up. There also was a touch of novelty on the opaque tights worn with the short skirts and dresses: chunky black jewels straight down the leg.

Miss Herrera closed the show with a delicate organza gown with a ruffled collar and open back and a black-and-light-purple print that she described as “raindrops.”

“Her play with embroidery for evening and the layering were hits. The tunic-shape sheath was so fresh,” said Avril Graham, executive fashion director at Harper’s Bazaar.

Matthew Williamson: The fashion flock often says that the European runway shows are more about spectacle, while their U.S. counterparts are more about business. This year, Londoner Matthew Williamson brought some of his colorful frivolity to these shores.

This collection is for the disco queens out there, and some models did, indeed, have miniature mirrored balls on their wrists as jewelry. Mr. Williamson’s fans are women who like to wear purple and aqua sequins — together. They’ll wear argyle fur frocks and a dress with a rainbow leopard print.

They’ll also have a good time wherever they are.

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