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Ella Moss: Pamella Protzel showed a solid collection for spring that featured soft, tissue-thin jersey ready to be tossed into a weekend bag. The clothes, in fact, evoked thoughts of sunny seaside resorts, as devotees Jessica Capshaw, Marsha Thomason, Rashida Jones and her sister Kidada Nash looked on from the front row. The three-year-old line is known for its chic and easy looks, but this time around, Protzel demonstrated a little more polish and sophistication as she sent out a series of long, backless gowns, fluttery tops and a bathing suit with a metal ring detail. She exercised her penchant for color by blocking peach, black and coral panels in Rudi Gernreich-styled minidresses, and striped a group of flirty dresses in red, canary and cocoa. A mosaic print cut in wrap tops and dresses did suggest Diane von Furstenberg a bit too much, but Protzel still remains among the best of the new crop of jersey girls.

Jenni Kayne: Who needs a celebrity wrangler when you can just call your friends — Robert Downey Jr., Anthony Kiedis, Rose McGowan, Lara Flynn Boyle, Aaron Eckhart, etc. — to fill the front row? All the star hullabaloo aside, however, when the lights went up, all attention was on Jenni Kayne’s collection that riffed on crisp, American sportiness with a little bit of shimmer and sparkle. As Boyle put it, “She takes a classic ensemble and jazzes it up.” Soft cashmere hoodies looked both cozy and elegant over a lace and sequin skirt while slouchy white cotton pants were paired with a ribbon-tied silver leather jacket. And although the ill-fitting, bulbous series of white organza tops and dresses didn’t fit in with the otherwise focused — but too long — lineup, Kayne has definitely matured, refining her sometimes too-glitzy look.

Ashley Paige: For spring, Ashley Paige drew inspiration from Seventies Southern girls, Alabama beaches and Dolly Parton hair, sending out fun, sexy swimwear and sportswear that spoke to everyone’s inner Daisy Duke — remember her in that bikini in the opening credits of “The Dukes of Hazzard”? While her signature hand-crocheted triangle-top hipster bikinis haven’t changed much, the designer did try her hand at Lycra-infused bikinis for the first time with bra-style underwire tops that had a Forties appeal and bottoms with flirty microskirts attached. Like her knits, they hugged in all the right places with nary a wrinkle or sag in the fabric. And, in a move to expand her reach beyond the boutique swim area, she included more sportswear offerings, such as the sassy ruffled tube dresses and feminine and flirty sweaters. The long skirt with a wide ruffle at the hem, however, looked a bit heavy, and the full-length crocheted dress looked more like a tangled fishnet.

This story first appeared in the October 29, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Coco Kliks: State fairs, corn on the cob and the anticipation of prom night — all elements of the wide-eyed wonder of Fifties America — was the setting at Coco Kliks for spring. The designer sent out an upbeat presentation of whimsical prints and candy-colored circle skirts that were refreshing takes on that era. Eyelet trims on HotPants and bustiers sweetened up otherwise sexy pieces, and prints of hot-air balloons and big pink polkadots made simple strapless dresses look fresh and playful. Blazers and trousers were well tailored and adorned with contrasting stitching and floral appliqués, which are signature Kliks elements. The designer has clearly evolved with her sophomore effort, proving that she can put together wearable clothing that moved beyond the costume-y elements of her first collection. However, a few distracting details remained, such as the metallic lace cutouts on sharply tailored trousers and flashy dresses.

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