EGYPTOLOGISTS, COOL CUSTOMERS AND THE FASHION MILITIA
MIGUEL ADROVER GOT SWEPT AWAY — LITERALLY — TO THE EGYPTIAN DESERT WITH AN ENDLESS PARADE OF DJELLABAS, WHILE CAROLINA HERRERA PROVIDED POLISHED ELEGANCE, DIANE VON FURSTENBERG WAS SIMPLE, YET SEXY, AND KENNETH COLE WAS IN STEP WITH THE MILITARY MESSAGE.

Miguel Adrover: “Get thee to a nunnery.” In the collection he showed on Sunday night, Miguel Adrover seemed to share Hamlet’s suggestion for Ophelia, indicating a desire for women to shroud themselves in the trappings of a quasi-Egyptian, quasi-religious, very artsy schtick.
Along the way, Adrover performed a deft juggling act between the beautiful and the irritating. The latter included the horribly managed door (Anna Wintour didn’t get in) and a mystical recorder on the soundtrack that rang vaguely familiar — perhaps Stephen Ruzow lifted a CD or two when he left Donna Karan. But the annoyance factor extended to the clothes themselves. Although the appeal of even the most alluring, long, sweeping djellabas is limited at best, the endless parade of them crossed the threshold of pretension.
The good news is that Adrover’s clothes are beauties. The nuns of his caftan convent moved gracefully, and when he reworked the shape into coats and skirts, it worked like a charm. Throughout, he flaunted his way with knits in coats, a huge basketweave cardigan and lovely cabled skirts. And remember the dirty-mattress chic from his breakthrough collection a year ago? He reprised the idea here with two great-looking, if hygenically challenged, coats. In his sportswear, as with his spring collection, Adrover showed a fascination with the military and the butch side of the Eighties, this time by way of the caravan. On the other hand, for those times when girls will be girlier, he offered diva-esque draped gowns and even the occasional charming frilled frock.
Yet as a collection, you just wanted more. Despite all the strengths, and the laborious drama of the muslin tent, the head wraps and the poor, frightened sheep led onto the runway, this collection lacked a clear statement of Adrover’s vision beyond the tricks of the moment. With the spotlight now focused on him so strongly, it’s time to deliver that message.

Carolina Herrera: Without a hint of camp or a trace of irony, without antics, bells or whistles, Carolina Herrera knows how to rev things up on the runway. She does it with the elegant clothes that make a gal’s heart race. Polished? Try buffed to a brilliant sheen. But just because Herrera’s look is luxe, doesn’t mean it’s stuffy.
For fall, she advocated a quiet sophistication with sleek wool coats in loden, camel and ivory, and supple suedes cut into such pieces as a steamy skirt that snapped up the side and a snug suede motorcycle jacket worn with gold flecked tweed pants. With Herrera’s sure touch, the classics looked jaunty — racy, even — especially when she applied herself to clever pieces in fur. Herrera’s tiny mink jacket is simply perfect, while her sleek fur bustier and hooded lynx coat work the stuff in a way that’s young and sexy.
Come fall, there may be very few of her customers scouring the stores looking for a leather skirt that balloons under at the hem, but that was a rare misstep. From first to last, and even when tackling the tricky stuff of asymmetry in a simple black dress with a single fluttering sleeve, Hererra took a cool and confident
approach.

Diane Von Furstenberg: She’s making headlines once again. After her recent marriage to mogul Barry Diller, Diane Von Furstenberg was every inch the blushing, radiant bride at her runway presentation on Sunday. The program revealed her overall sense of calm and reflection — “stolen moments…secret rendez-vous…the adventure of being a woman…loving life and living it fully.” The collection, too, mirrored this relaxed attitude, and it looked great. There were clean silhouettes with simple details: camel pants with a bright orange ribbon at the waist, printed chiffon insets on pleated skirts and beaded chiffon tops over tweed skirts. And of course, there was such sexier fare as the wide-belted, draped-front minidress and super-slim pantsuits.

Kenneth Cole: Last season he emphasized getting out to vote. For fall Kenneth Cole wants everyone to do good deeds. The designer invited guests to bring clothing donations for the homeless to his show, and he also translated that theme into a hilarious cartoon video starring red-headed comedienne Kathy Griffin. In the video, Griffin visits Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, Sarah Jessica Parker and President George W. Bush, in search of donations. Highlights of the spoof included Bush sitting on the floor playing with a toy soldier and a rocket bomb, Parker, who launched the flower-pin craze, wearing one in a risque location and Madonna already giving away her “Mrs. Ritchie” jacket. As usual, the collection was chock-full of great distressed and vintage-style leathers in coats, dresses and even a jumpsuit. Cole also rode the military wave with such looks as a gray denim blazer paired with cropped pants, military-style shirts and wool bomber jackets — all trendy, but wearable. Evening, however, was a different matter. A slew of charmeuse dresses, a corduroy jacket with a satin lapel and pants with satin insets were simply a step in the wrong direction.

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