NEW YORK — As the big-name designers start to show their spring collections this week, five newer names emerging on the city's fashion scene seem to be part of a "youthquake" that may shake up the Establishment.
"They wedged themselves into a corseted shape," Miguel Osuna says about New York's best-known designers, whose recent collections have been deemed somewhat staid by many pundits.
Instead, 35-year-old Osuna says he and his partner, David Norbury, 30, are styling "romantic fantasies." He points out an "Alice in Wonderland" dress with an Empire waistline from the Norbury and Osuna spring collection.
"We're doing a full, feminine, fresh look and lots of floral themes," he says. After five years in business, Norbury and Osuna are the old men among younger designers.
Marc Jacobs, a 23-year-old who is showing his second collection this season, says he styles classic shapes then "fluffs them up." The bride in his show will wear what he calls a "Freudian" slip-dress. It has a portrait of the father of psychoanalysis on the front.
Jacobs says the drawings of the late Austrian artist, Egon Schiele, inspired his printed slip-dresses.
"Schiele's women were erotic and sexy," he says. "Not the image of a woman in black leather, but a bit more naive."
His anti-Establishment ideas of dressing aside, Jacobs says: "It's fine to have a young outlook, but women aren't going to wear just that. The youthfulness in my collection is in its sense of humor."
Isabel Toledo, 22, whose business is only three seasons old, says: "I like a balance. It makes for a good wardrobe." Among the more directional styles she will show for spring is a double-circle skirt she calls a "packing skirt" because it lies flat when not worn.
Angel Estrada, 28, has been designing for 2 1/2 years. His collection includes a group of "chic lunch suits, or rather, a spoof on them."
Of the youth boom, Estrada comments: "Maybe we're getting away from the chic '60s look everyone's been doing. Things move from one extreme to the next. The opposite of the sophisticated woman is a little girl."
Patricia Clyne, 31, will receive the Claire McCardell Rising Star Award from the Fashion Group on Monday. She has been in business four years.
"My clothes are mostly bought by women who work, so I've done lots of suits," she says.
Among her spring styles that she considers unusual, Clyne lists bustle skirts and bubble skirts. "I like to do different things that some people think are too eccentric," Clyne says.
"Who needs another Calvin Klein?" she says.