ZORAN: COMFORT ZONE

A metamorphosis has taken place at Zoran for fall, but the change is in the designer himself, not those wonderfully predictable comfort clothes. Zoran's designer's perennially scruffy beard and hair have been shaved to a fare-thee-well, and not a moment too soon. His fans, including Gloria Vanderbilt, packed into Zoran's new Chambers Street digs for his show. After all the schoolgirls and tarts on the runways, Zoran proves that there is still a place for simple, beautiful clothes. What said it all: An alpaca jacket layered over an easy short-sleeved cashmere pullover and a long-sleeved chiffon T-shirt paired with charmeuse pants -- all in shades of gray.

RUSSELL BENNETT: HIP GRACE

Why not do a man-tailored shirt out of striped tie silk or mix fisherman knits with charmeuse or polar fleece with chiffon? Russell Bennett, a former Moschino assistant, does it with a hip grace. And what better way to appreciate his smart blend of sexiness, elegance and quality than with a clever, well-executed still-life presentation -- dress forms set into cardboard boxes in a raw space that was swathed in brown packing paper and yards of bubble-wrap?

Everybody welcomed the informal venue -- a chance to view, each at his own pace, feather-trimmed sweater numbers, silk faille mini-bustle skirts and superbly cut jackets, minis and pebble crepe little dresses, all in rich browns, champagnes, taupes and black. And it's all relatively affordable -- from $95 for a mohair sweater to $450 for a wool coat.

HAN FENG: BEYOND THE PLEAT

Each season, Han Feng takes her signature pleated silks a few steps further -- and adds other pieces. While most of the silks still look terrific, the news for fall is in her cropped cashmere boleros over white shirts, silk minis and cashmere pajama pants. It was the wonderful mixture of textures -- matte and shine -- and colors that gave the show its vitality. But the long, awkward genie skirts and the last few tied-and-wrapped numbers seemed to suggest that Feng had run out of steam.

TRACY FEITH: MIXING IT UP

Tracy Feith seems to have solved his quality problems of last season. And this time he delivered his offbeat message with a happier mood. Sure, some of those fabric mixes were hard to take, but piece by piece, there were some great items -- white PVC jeans, mohairs in pale blue, and pink and white jackets trimmed in fake shearling.

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