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Fashion 88 : Casual Chic

April 22, 1988|MARY ROURKE | Times Staff Writer

Face it, there's a pair of pants in your future. The dressy kind that designers have been ignoring for the past couple of years. In

Europe and New York, as well as California, fashion leaders are taking a new interest in trousers, showing how to make them look current. And as with everything else about dress-

ing well, there is a distinctly L.A. way to do it.

Some of the most promising of the city's newer designers showed their ideas on the subject at a fall fashion preview at the California Apparel Mart. The best of the styles had several things in common--soft edges and well-placed touches of wit or whimsy.

Beyond that, a number of designers demonstrated that they have learned one of fashion's hardest lessons: how to merge key elements of casual and chic. The effect, when it works, is California style at its most sophisticated.

David Dart for Force One led the way. His oversize, silky T-shirt worn with full-cut, crepe trousers was a fashion ace. The pants had a high-rise waistline that ended in shoulder straps. Dart completed the look with short, black gloves and a roll-brim hat, as well as a pair of the spit-polished, military-style oxfords that have become the sportswear shoe of the hour.

Mark Eisen, unabashedly under the influence of the Chanel style, teamed a cropped, navy denim jacket with high-waisted pants and put flat, gold buttons--the size of half dollars--on the pockets. He added masses of pearls and gold chains above it all, pointed-toe pumps with a mid-height heel below and a sporty, man-tailored hat.

Karl Logan and Eric Bovy, two of the better-known names in the show's talent lineup, demonstrated how they earned their strong reputations. Logan worked with dark, shadow-plaid wool to carve out a '30s silhouette pantsuit, with wide-leg trousers and a longer, hip-hugging jacket. He attached an extra stream of fabric at the neckline and let it fall across one shoulder. It fluttered as the model moved.

Logan's use of long, full coats and shawls, in fabrics that matched his stylish suits, set his collection apart. Bovy, whose French heritage is always visible in his designs, closed the neckline of his fitted, navy gabardine pantsuit with a ladylike bow. He cut the trousers full at the hips and narrow at the ankles to ensure some built-in curves.

Katayoni Adeli designs under the Laundry label and played off a Victorian theme in a fall pants outfit with high-waisted black pants and a white, shawl-collared blouse.

Another very feminine fashion entry, by Kymio, featured a soft wool pantsuit with shawl-collared jacket and wide, cropped pants.

Planet, styled by Maureen Dempski and Patricia Burke, made a case for the appeal of women in men's clothing, with their monochrome, man-tailored shirts and trousers.

Most designers showed dresses and skirts as well as pants and pantsuits. From their overall collections, some of the best looks were by Adeli. Her suit with narrow, knee-covering skirt and longer, swing-style jacket was a standout. In it she mixed large with small Pendleton-like plaids and gave the models matching plaid hatbox purses.

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