The Hip Parade

NEW YORK — The American collections blew through town last week and several designers — some new, some pros — offered their takes on girly flirts, nature lovers and sophisticated women.<br><br>Sometimes a girl just needs to slip into...

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NEW YORK — The American collections blew through town last week and several designers — some new, some pros — offered their takes on girly flirts, nature lovers and sophisticated women.

This story first appeared in the September 26, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Sometimes a girl just needs to slip into something comfortable along with her Birkenstocks. She can head to Indigo People, where in its debut women’s collection, designer Siri Kuptamethee took inspiration from Mother Nature and showed just how cool camping and safari frocks can be with lots of neutral colors and camouflage pieces. Victor de Souza, meanwhile, turned out some interesting draped dresses, corset tops and jackets. A bit of comic relief interrupted the serious atmosphere, however, when one of the male models lost his pants while strolling down the runway. Language boutique owner Ana Abdul created her own line a year ago with a collection of reworked, one-of-a-kind vintage pieces. Because of demand, she decided to create looks that could actually be manufactured and this time showed a Twenties-inspired collection of dresses and tops trimmed with re-embroidered lace, beading and silk fringe.

David Rodriguez did lots of ruffles while, for her third collection, Mary Ping took a minimalist route with her cotton twill jumpsuit and a simple tank top with pegged pants. It all looked comfortable, wearable and modern. Wilbur Pack Jr., the gutsy designer behind SKWilbur sent out six leather or denim looks, inspired by the movie “Gladiator,” in front of the Bryant Park tents just before and after Michael Kors’ show.

Brazilian beachwear designer Amir Slama showed a slew of bikinis, maillots and sexy cover-ups for Rosa Cha. And there was something for everyone, as long as you’ve got a bod for sin and a bikini wax to match — and who better to model these than than Naomi Campbell. Turkish designer Atil Kotuglu, inspired by the Whirling Dervishes of his homeland, did ivory mini caftan dresses and organza shirts in varying lengths. Korean designer Haneza whipped up some pretty laser-cut tops and a group of airy, beaded tulle and lace skirts, tops and dresses. Y & Kei featured lots of mother-of-pearl, metal and wood accessories with their line of layered, neutral-toned tops, oversized cotton trousers and denim cargo pants. Meanwhile, three South African designers, Malcolm Kluk, Julian and Clive Rundel, showed collectively as Afridesia with richly toned iridescent taffeta or chiffon dresses, often detailed with lots of crystal or wood beading.

Zaldy and Anne Bowen brought in live music for their shows this season. At Zaldy, the audience was treated to a performance by Rufus Wainwright before the designer unveiled his collection of draped jersey tops, silk chiffon dresses and crystal-embellished suede pieces. Meanwhile, a lesser-known, but charming Mark Copely opened for Bowen, who showed a lineup of navy, nude and white dresses with either glass bead, abalone shell or mica details. More enthralling, however, was dreamy Ben Chaplin sitting in the front row.

And finally, 18-year-old designer Esteban Cortazar’s much-anticipated debut collection was a high-wattage event featuring the likes of Ivana Trump, Todd Oldham, Anne McNally and the Hilton sisters. But all the excitement turned out to be a bit premature. The bathing suit-inspired gowns and the draped, twisted chiffon dresses showed promise, but most of the collection resembled a caricature of Miami glamour.

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