FALL ’95: A season of contrast
Gianni Versace’s Istante and Versus played Mum against Mod; Gucci’s collection was the brazen Mod front-runner; Prada wowed with its low slung belts and cool edge; Giorgio Armani moved to an old airplane factory to show his elegant 400-piece collection; Yves Saint Laurent did tight, while Karl Lagerfeld went loose at Chanel.
Ralph Lauren used an emphasis on shape to make classics look new; Anna Sui’s modsters won for attitude, and Calvin Klein took a couture turn; Ann Demeulemeester, Jil Sander and Helmut Lang played it stark and simple with Conservative Hip. John Galliano auditioned for Givenchy with a collection of exquisite clothes and high drama. Camel, the color and the fabric, stormed the runways, from Donna Karan to Michael Kors. Smart men’s wear looks showed up at Dolce & Gabbana and Richard Tyler. And the sheath ruled the runways in both the U.S. and Europe.

Spring ’96: A return to sportswear with Relaxed Chic
Gucci and Max Mara dropped lengths to the ankle; Versace went with a navel motif; Jil Sander’s collection was full of strength and smarts; Armani brought spontaneity and ease to the runway with Relaxed Chic; Helmut Lang sent out legions of edgy lace; Lagerfeld’s ChloA was witty, tapping into the transition from hippie to disco, while his Chanel championed Americana, from chinos to mall-rat denim.
Valentino revived the slip with a sexy layered affair; Emanuel Ungaro reworked his own Sixties shapes in an anniversary collection; Gianfranco FerrA’s Dior championed chic good taste, while bad taste with retro antics and jarring color combinations from Prada and Jean Colonna also looked good.
Alexander McQueen secured his position as the leader of London’s fashion pack; Versus served up a feisty barrage of mismatched stripes, flowers and plaids; Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera brought pared-down, elegant collections to life; Anna Sui did preppy looks and Geek Chic; Victor Alfaro found inspiration in the Miller sisters; Calvin Klein returned to sportswear with an ode to the Seventies; Marc Jacobs left the wild life behind for a collection of refined pieces; Bill Blass’s mixed-up men’s wear looks showed spunk and confidence; Donna Karan’s colors were as vivid as her shapes were spare, and Ralph Lauren emerged as the champion of real clothes for real life.

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