New York's styles vary in designers' spring picks by Patrice Worthy Indiana Daily Student
Published Wednesday, September 17, 2003

NEW YORK -- The fourth day of Fashion Week in New York City proved to be a hectic occasion. The tents are becoming increasingly full and the shows keep getting better. Sunday, Lacoste surprised many with a colorful laid back style for spring; while Tuleh disappointed its audience with a short show that one could categorize as boring. Monday, the Bill Blass show was full of surprises and show-stoppers as new head designer Michael Vollbracht proved himself to an audience full of curiosity and found out that the designer could pull off a successful comeback after a 15-year hiatus.


Lacoste

Though only 10 percent of French-based Lacoste sales come from the American market, the company never leaves Americans out during fashion week.

"It's one of those brands that is like a household name," model Phillip Huang said.

Lacoste is known for its preppy style, but this season it added a cool element to its collection. The collection was full of bright colors for spring like bright reds, oranges, yellows, and blues. Multicolored stripes were also a huge part of the collection, along with the classic polo shirt and tennis shorts. This season, the look was brightly colored velour pants and tennis shorts, paired with colorful striped polos. The accessories were tennis visors, kanglo-style hats with rags underneath, and rain hats.

The men's look was very laid back, including white and yellow loose fitting slacks paired with striped polos. One of the brighter fits was a men's white running suit with an orange block on the front.

"I liked the button down shirt with the collar up,"  Huang said.

One of the looks for men was a blue-gray jacket over a black polo worn with white slacks and belt. Lacoste didn't leave the women out by showing one-piece black bathing suits. There was also a checkered trench raincoat with matching hat. They also showed pink, blue and yellow velour tennis shorts with matching rain capes and tanks underneath.



Tuleh

The Tuleh collection was much anticipated, but was more a meeting for New York socialites than an entertaining fashion show. Aerin Lauder, model and granddaughter of Estee Lauder and other influential members of the fashion scene were in the audience, but the show itself was lackluster. The show had a lot of Spanish influence and included black lace dresses over beige slips.

One of the signature features of the show was clear buttons down the side of all the dresses. This collection was full of cocktail dresses, and and was very flirty. The show's color pallete was black, navy, pink and floral prints. It also included the Chanel-inspired tweed skirt suit which is popular on runways for spring 2004. The collection was small with only 27 looks.



Bill Blass

Last season, the Bill Blass head designer Lars Nilson was fired, and replaced with Michael Vollbracht, a retired designer of Bob Mackie. Vollbracht said his surroundings kept the stress off.

"There was no pressure, because I have a great staff," he said, "full of wonderful, helpful, really nice people."

The collection's color pallete was butterscotch, off-white, taupe, navy and seafoam. The show included the classic Bill Blass suit in beige, navy pinstripe, and black. The designer also included taffeta ball gowns. The gowns were raggedy and showed the seams on the outside. Models also strutted in fitted nude and black sheath dresses with hydrangea appliques. There was a light pink leopard print silk chiffon dress with flouncy sleeves, and a pink multicolored chiffon evening skirt, with a cinnamon cardigan worn backward and tied in a knot at the lower back.

Kate Rowold, a fashion design professor at IU said she loved the show.

"Luxurious fabrics, beautiful styling, and perfection on fit on the models," Rowold said. " ... Pretty, pretty romantic clothes."

The brightest gown was a shockingly bright colored blue, yellow and pink ball gown made of ombre silk chiffon.

"I did my homework," Vollbracht said. "Our customers are the daughters of our older customers and that's what we want. I tried to represent both ladies on the runway."

Some of the shirts had the Bill Blass logo on the front, and most of the dresses were made with huge bow ties around the waist. The details of the clothes, gave some of the looks a younger feel.

The talk of the show was the over-50 super models from the '80s on the Blass runway.

"They can show clothes like nobody else, especially Pat Cleveland," Vollbracht said.

When asked what inspired him, he simply said it was the paycheck.
 

Patrice Worthy

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