NEW YORK
ISAAC SLIPS ON THE ROCKY ROAD OF RETRO, WHILE LINDA ALLARD HOPS, SKIPS AND JUMPS ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK AT ELLEN TRACY.

Isaac Mizrahi: Mizrahi staged a typically hilarious presentation on Tuesday, this time with a ticker board that carried all kinds of amusing inside comments. "Viscose is Italian for rayon," accompanied a knitted group, while to introduce a spangled gold siren, the board read: "the Oscar dress--and we don't mean de la Renta."
As for the clothes, they were less amusing, largely because Mizrahi got caught up in the retro craze sweeping fashion. The designer had said that Louise Dahl-Wolfe was the inspiration for his collection, but there were also shades of Lucy Ricardo and Laura Petrie, apparent byproducts of his docu-sales pitch for Nick at Nite. Unfortunately, those ladies sometimes led him down a dowdy path: What is this fascination with Lilly Pulitzer? Similarly, while it was refreshing to see something other than a hobble skirt on a runway, those past-the-knee flared shapes just weren't the answer.
Still, there's no question that Isaac knows how to make a suit, and he sent out plenty of beauties. The key to it all was the precisely cut jacket with a roped shoulder, shown over slim, knee-covering skirts or pants. They turned up in a variety of guises--black tissue crepe, hot pink barathea, gangster tweeds and a killer white seersucker pantsuit that would do a modern Dietrich proud.

Ellen Tracy: It's not every show that boasts Allen Questrom--not to mention all the other ceo's--in its front row. But then, there's more to a salesroom than a hobble skirt and a patent mule. Just ask the folks at Ellen Tracy, which has laid claim to some of the best real estate in retail today. And the collections that Linda Allard showed yesterday should keep the ship sailing along just beautifully.
Her signature collection was just the right mix of trends with bread-and-butter--Forties-style suits, steamy stretch satin Ts, corsets and bustiers. There were plenty of hot colors and an occasional nod to longer lengths. At Company, which next season will show a 30 percent decrease in price, Allard kept to a pale palette and focused on cropped polos, hipster skirts and fluid little dresses.

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