Byline: Agnes Cammock

NEW YORK — The dressing-down of America be dammed. Despite widespread banter about the national corporate dress code having gone to hell in a sweatshirt, designers of bridge collections are hardly roughing it. In fact, in recent seasons, they’ve been embracing a point of view that’s increasingly pulled-together, one reaching fresh levels of sophistication in the collections opening this week.
“There’s a new level of refinement,” says Nicole Fischelis, vice president and fashion director of Saks Fifth Avenue. “The trend now is to infuse a sophisticated aura with evening elements into daywear. This idea of day and evening items together in a collection is becoming important at every price point, and I think we’ll see more of it for fall than ever before.”
At Donna Karan, the mood manifests itself in masculine-feminine haberdashery and evening items that the designer says looks just great in the bright light of day. In fact, Donna has taken the concept of “dressing up” quite literally. In her self-proclaimed “theatrical” collection, she pulls together a cast of fashion characters that includes a dandy, Stella Dallas and a dolled-up cowgirl she dubs “Georgia O’Keeffe’s daughter.”
“It’s still fun and funky, young and hip,” Karan explains. “But it’s much more sophisticated now, because younger people are dressing up more. Everybody thinks [my daughter] Gabby and I are sisters because she’s so sophisticated.”