Shoulder pads bring '80s style to Fashion Week

By: By SAMANTHA CRITCHELL, AP Fashion Writer
By: By SAMANTHA CRITCHELL, AP Fashion Writer

NEW YORK (AP) - Remember the '80s, when big hair and even bigger shoulders were the height of chic? The designers at New York Fashion Week won't let you forget.

Yes, the shoulder pad is back.

Add that to power suits, Robert Palmer-style second-skin dresses, dark lipstick and even, at Miss Sixty, acid-wash jeans.

It's probably safe to say that in recent history there were more shoulder pads at Goodwill drop-off bins than at fashion boutiques or department stores. But designers have successfully brought back other '80s hallmarks: the skinny jean, leggings, legwarmers and for Spring, highlighter colors.

Big shoulders edged onto the runways of Miss Sixty, Diane von Furstenberg, Herve Leger, BCBG, Jason Wu, Nicole Miller and Alexander Wang as Fashion Week entered its fourth day of fall previews Monday.

"Shoulder pads scare people but remember, runway is a fairy tale," said Gloria Baume, fashion director at Teen Vogue. "Now we have to figure out how to make it real."

If you're feeling daring, go for 1/2 inch pads, not the 2 inches seen on the models, and don't shove them into any old shirt or jacket - the fabric must be strong enough to take it, Baume said. "You should wear shoulder pads with a little sense of humor too."

CAROLINA HERRERA

While everyone else might be obsessed with the 1980s, Carolina Herrera looked to the decorative elements of the 18th century for the fall collection she debuted Monday.

And the copper hardware that mimicked those old architectural details added the most modern touches to the dominant fitted shape with a tight, high waist.

The mixing of textured silk, reflective jacquard, lace, suede and a recurring floral motif created a luxurious patchwork quilt, and she also created an eye-catching draped wrap with long sleeves that was worn over gowns, many of which had a corset peeking out from underneath.

She also paid special attention to the sleeves on blouses, creating a pouffy-on-top, skinny-on-bottom shape reminiscent of Victoriana.

MISS SIXTY

Miss Sixty kicked off its show Sunday with a black, acid-wash denim romper with a low-slung waist with a chain detail, with a strapless acid-wash jumpsuit right on its heels.

Designer Wichy Hassan followed those looks up with nylon puffer pieces and a colorful pop-art print of fashion-magazine covers that was best used on a windbreaker that was worn with skinny jeans and a tank top covered in "peace" graphics.

Most of the jeans had the skinniest of legs, some looking painted on the models. The lower waist was something the editors, stylists and retailers haven't seen much of so far, so in most instances it was refreshing, but the dropped-crotch trousers that almost hung to knees was silly and unflattering even on the catwalkers.

CALVIN KLEIN MENSWEAR

The new armor for the working man is made of molded foam, a fabric that repels anything you throw at it.

Calvin Klein menswear designer Italo Zucchelli used this fabric for modern-day Michelin-man suits worn as if were just another day at the office.

Of course the Calvin Klein way is to send a powerful message using understated style, so Zucchelli introduced this fashion-forward, futuristic look in basic shades of gray and they were woven into the larger fall collection, which was mostly slim, monochromatic two-button suits offered in gray-black-taupe colors named anthracite, vapor and zinc.

Many of the models looked a bit like drones who help churn a frenzied world but have little time for expression. That made those "Iron Man" styles all the more noteworthy to a crowd that included Kanye West.

ERIN FETHERSTON

A first glance at Erin Fetherston's mini hoop skirts renders a verdict of cute-but-not-wearable. However, when the designer herself wore a black version of this kooky teacup silhouette on the runway, she looked pretty darned cute.

The theme of Fetherston's show at Bryant Park on Sunday was life-size dolls, complete with girlie bows and Swiss-dot gloves. The collection, dubbed "Tinderbox," was gimmicky, but there was something fresh in the unabashed femininity, which has been a rare sight at the previews of fall styles.

Other than the pouffy miniskirts, Fetherston embraced delicate tops in chiffon, ruffled necklines and a floral print of a magnolia blossom. She also used a delicate lavender and a rich cranberry color (which looked great mixed with gold as a jewel-tone tweed) to break up all the black and white.


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