LAS VEGAS — It is no longer cool to look scruffy.

At least, that’s the word according to David Wolfe, creative director of the New York-based retail consulting firm The Doneger Group, who outlined his insight on fall and winter 2002 to a packed hall at WWDMAGIC last week.

“Dressing down has reached a saturation point,” continued Wolfe. “Of course, it’s still ‘red hot’ this season, but it’s about to turn off. We’re still seeing plenty of designers and textile people in love with the idea of [scruffy fashion]. But they have to rethink where most consumers’ heads are at.”

Retailers he spoke to during the trade show confirmed his predictions, many complaining to him that there was little if anything new at the show.

“I think lots of people at MAGIC were a little dismayed there wasn’t more color available from vendors. Black sold so well for spring deliveries that the very idea of color is something they’re bullish about for fall,” he observed.

The resounding theme: a return to a “dress code” is something consumers want. “People want a sense of control and comfort in their lives again. They may not have that in the world, but they can have it in their wardrobes.”

That means a return to classics — even if they are slightly tweaked for a modern effect, be it by “remixing” unrelated textiles and colors. Buttoned-up, chic, vintage looks will emerge, with perennial poster muses Jackie O and Audrey Hepburn invoked as inspiration.

Tailored, structured silhouettes are also on the comeback — even with that ubiquitous favorite, denim, cut in suit jackets, shapely shirts and even wide-legged, cuffed trousers.

“We’ve tortured and decorated denim as much as we can, so it’s time to clean it up again,” Wolfe insisted. While faded denim was hawked at every turn of a show aisle, he warned that consumers will begin eyeing darker washes before the year ends.

Here are Doneger’s Trends to Watch for fall:

Color, from winter pastels to exotic brights.

Men’s wear influences in designs, fabrics and colors.

Tailored sportswear coordinates.

Luxe femininity.

Remixing disparate styles, textiles, colors and labels for a modern effect.

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