By  on April 10, 2007

Mother Nature is fashion's newest trendsetter, and green is her signature color.

NEW YORK — Although smoldering shades of black and gray dominated the runways during New York Fashion Week, bright colors, such as green, are hardly on the wane.

Models sauntered down runways in various shades of green, dubbed "Mother Nature's favorite neutral" by Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute and author of "More Alive With Color." On the spring and fall runways, the color was ubiquitous, in everything from emerald turbans at Prada to a bright, strapless, belted gown with matching pantaloons at Jean Paul Gaultier. Dries Van Noten made a splash with an opalescent neon green anorak for spring, and Thakoon artfully mastered a darling baby-doll dress of the same hue, infused with the perfect proportions of Eighties Day-Glo chic.

For fall, Olivier Theyskens showed ethereal white and chartreuse gowns for Nina Ricci, and Emilio Pucci sent a kelly green fur coat — with a signature printed green sheath underneath, of course — down the runway.

But whether a style is classically elegant, brazen or somewhere in between, all shades of green are considered neutral. According to Eiseman, there isn't a color that can't be combined with green because it is found in nature.

"The bright yellow greens that are prevalent for spring can be combined with any other color the same way that the more subdued greens can, but the brighter greens call more attention to the wearer, so wear them if you want to stand out," said Eiseman.

She believes green is fast becoming one of fashion's favorite colors. Sartorially speaking, green is more than just a trend. "It's not a new phenomenon. We know green has represented nature for many years and that feeling has grown," said Eiseman, who credits Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" with bringing home "being green" to a lot of people.

"Now, everyone is taking the presence of nature very seriously, so when there is a movement like this, what happens is that a color that's connected with it becomes a symbolic color, and people want to use that color to show that they also understand and need to preserve nature," said Eiseman. "It's beyond a trend — it takes on more of an aura of a social issue. It's like a badge of honor to wear green or be part of a green industry."

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