NEW YORK — Designer Geoffrey Beene delivered the wittiest clothes of the season at his spring showing last week, with menswear looks translated for women.
The jacket of what appeared to be a simple, gray, workaday suit opened to reveal a black-lace Empire bodice appropriate for evening. The shape of a football jersey was used for a short, sequined chiffon dress with the player's number emblazoned at a tilt.
Button-down collars and men's ties were built right into dresses and sweaters that fooled the eye into thinking they really were collars and ties. And fabrics usually associated with men's suits or shirts were quilted and shaped into very female, very curvaceous outfits.
Some dresses were loose, as in Beene's taffeta tents that flared from shoulders to above-the-knee hemlines. Others were so molded to the midsection, above long or short full skirts, that the outfits resembled classical ballerina dresses.
Beene played with every combination of proportions, his favorites being fitted bodices with full skirts and fitted dresses under full coats. The clothes, unmistakably individual and elegant, were likened by some in the audience to joyous little works of art.
Donna Karan, who showed the same day as Beene, took a Think Pink theme. Pale pink silk pajama-sashed jackets and one-button blazers teamed with pink silk pull-on pants or pink silk and cashmere long or knee-length skirts.
Karan's signature, sarong-wrap skirt is really an elastic-waist, pull-on style this season. And her bodysuits--often with wide, plunging necklines--are more for after-hours than office hours. The basic, workday wardrobe from this designer is the thin silk knit "undershirt" beneath the long, easy jacket teamed with pants or a skirt.
Louis Dell'Olio for Anne Klein showed off-the-shoulder blouses for spring. He also offered pants cropped at mid-calf, long sweater tunics with short skirts, and a variety of jackets with drawstring waistlines or blazer styling and softly rounded shoulder pads. The look was clean and crisp and very wearable.