By  on February 23, 1994

NEW YORK -- Short is on the rise for fall when it comes to junior looks, but dresses of all lengths are still holding strong. While there's still some interest in the oversized, hip-hop-influenced silhouettes, there's a move back to bodyhugging looks, such as shorts, flippy skirts and knit separates like T-shirts and leggings. Other key looks manufacturers are starting to show for back-to-school bookings include racer-striped separates, loose multiprint dresses in long or short silhouettes and, of course, vests, which show no signs of cooling down.

At Jou Jou, here, executive vice president Bob Acampora said that previews of the fall line at last week's MAGIC show in Las Vegas gave the company some direction.

"We got a good reaction on a whole men's wear group that we called 'English Eccentrics,"' he said. "It has flippy short skirts, a boyfriend jacket, a tweed trouser and a vest that plays off the separate items."

That group is done in brown and charcoal tones of wool blend fabrics.

Acampora said Jou Jou is updating the flannel trend of last fall by adding feminine touches to tops, such as ruffling a blouse. Another look for flannel will be to mix it with denim, such as in appliques on a 16-inch skirt, a shirt or jeans.

For other items, Acampora said that denim shirts mixed with other fabrics, such as a sleeveless shirt with a Mexican stripe inset, and outerwear-styled looks such as boxy rancher jackets with western touches, will be key.

"We also did a group of cotton faille mixed with faux leather, which we're combining in vests or in a jacket," he said. "We really believe strongly that the vest will continue to be one of the hottest silhouettes this fall."

George Randall, chief executive officer of Yes Clothing Co., Los Angeles, said he's seeing a resurgence of interest in logo clothing.

"A lot of what's happening is going to be very logo-driven but not in an ostentatious way," he said. "It's going to be small."

But as far as he's concerned, "the uniform" for fall will be a short skirt or shorts worn over a cotton and Lycra spandex body stocking or leggings. Based on some early bookings, Randall said, the legging is making a resurgence."With some schools, there's a dress code that doesn't allow kids to wear the short skirts," he said. "If they put them over a legging, then it's OK."

While the racer stripe athletic look is already in stores, Randall said he thinks it will still be strong come fall. Yes did a group of black and white pieces with a white racer stripe that was featured in the windows of Macy's East's flagship store here.

Sobel Balaban, vice president of product development for the Chorus Line group, Los Angeles -- which includes the All That Jazz line of junior dresses -- said fall will have a "cleaner silhouette, with texture in wovens and knits and surface interest from a mixture of yarns."

The difference between day and evening looks isn't so much in the fabrics as in the silhouettes, she said.

"We do a big business in lace dresses, but the junior customer wears them during the day, not at night," she said. "During the day, it's looser and more layered, where at night, it's slimmer.

To create more surface interest, Balaban said fabrics will be mixed such as jacquard weaves with foulard prints.

"We'll also be doing some of the pseudo-two-piece outfits, such as a vest attached to a skirt, which is a more interesting combination and gives the customer an idea of value," she said.

At Jonathan Martin, based in Los Angeles, sales associate Lisa Keen said that for back-to-school, two-piece dressing and layering are key looks.

"We will be doing what's called 'twin printing,' or printing two different patterns on one piece of fabric, such as a plaid and a ditzy floral print," she said. Other fabric innovations include mixing knits and wovens in the same outfit.

Michele Dahan, owner and designer of Tag Rag, another Los Angeles company, said she's seeing the oversize look of the last few seasons calm down to a loose, body-skimming silhouette.

"We still have the oversize look, but it's not too extreme," she said. "Pockets and details that have been big are getting a little more realistic, and the rest of it will follow. There's going to be a lot more vintage, retro influence."That influence will contribute to making junior lines for fall more feminine, Dahan said.

"I think it has been getting more feminine, and with the vintage and retro influences that will continue," she said. "Even though fabrics are kind of mixed, there's still a lot of movement in toward the body in silhouette."

For dresses, which continue to be a key item, manufacturers agree that hemlines will be both long and short, with silhouettes including baby dolls, princess silhouettes and empire dresses.

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