NEW YORK – Designers are gearing up with an eye for smart tailoring and sexy shapes.

Giorgio Armani Giorgio Armani is king of the jacket, and in his pre-fall collection he again showed why. This time, he focused on discreet structure, starting with a strong, square shoulder — a shape he also emphasized in his men’s collection last month. From that starting point, the possibilities were numerous as the designer played with texture, proportion and detail for everything from rakish blazers and snug cardigan shapes to short, fitted jackets. Most of these were shown with pants, especially new, tapered trousers. And while dresses were less important here than in his recent collections, Armani did add a dollop of glamour with graceful, full-skirted versions with a trace of Forties chic.

“These clothes are flexible. They adapt to necessity, to life,” said Gianfranco Ferre of his bridge collection, Studio 000.1 by Ferre, produced by Marzotto. The fall line is aimed at a career customer and plays to her common sense, focusing on classics delivered with punch: gentle twists of proportion; jolts of color injected into a brown and black base. There are plenty of smart tailored looks, pulled-together separates, those terrific white shirts and sparkly suits for evening.

Young and sexy. That’s the mood of Valentino Boutique for early fall.
Suits, cut on the skinny, turn up in feisty textured fabrics — mohair, tweeds or knotted wools. Dresses are all about curves, with cinched waists and steamy scooped necklines.

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