IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Kicky capris to yachting dresses

Kors, Klein, Steffe among the featured designers
/ Source: The Associated Press

Michael Kors took the audience at his show Wednesday on a wild ride to the chic island of Capri, where he envisioned jet-set lifestyles and every move calling for yet another change of clothing, preferably in Popsicle brights and nautical styles with a sexy twist.

Looks borrowed from other places and times have hardly been scarce as the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week designer previews reached midweek. Also Wednesday, Cynthia Steffe mined the 1950s, a popular decade this season, with Capri pants, flirty petticoat shapes and dresses that recall Marilyn Monroe.

Playing to an audience that included Brooke Shields, Jessica Simpson and Melanie Griffith, Kors paid tribute to a well-heeled way of life at a resort spot that he calls his favorite.

“Capri is the one place in the world where there’s no such thing as overpacking,” Kors said. “Capri is all about changing your swimsuit three times a day. After lunch you buy an emerald necklace, and before you go to dinner you might pick up a pair of crocodile sandals. It’s the only place in the world that is the ultimate runway show, except that instead of starring models it stars real people.”

If Kors has his say, those people will be in the market for citrus brights, preferably orange, which lend sizzle to blazers, a suede sailing jacket, pullovers and even jeans for men. Men, according to Kors, also need cobalt blue, to add zing to Bermuda shorts.

The Kors customer likes her white cotton jeans with high-heel sandals, is not afraid to wear a yellow cashmere bra and call it a top and grasps the concept of a “yachting dress,” a little nothing of a sparkly mini that somehow rates as seaworthy due to yellow and white awning stripes.

To underscore a life of ease, Kors sent out a slew of bracelets, rings and necklaces, all in gold, the better to accessorize gold sandals.

Upbeat Steffe show
Maybe it was the Elvis Presley music, or maybe it was the happy, accidental collisions of pink and green, but Steffe’s show was so upbeat that some members of the jaded fashion audience betrayed vague smiles. Taking her cue from the late 1950s and early ’60s, Steffe said that she wanted to recall the skinny Capri pants of Mary Tyler Moore, the beachy attire of Gigdet and the tight pegged skirts of Marilyn Monroe.

Why that era?

“There was so much change in a very short period of time, from the late ’50s into the early ’60s, when all the silhouettes changed drastically in a period of three to four years,” said Steffe, whose customers have included Meena Suvari, Cate Blanchett, Katie Couric and Marcia Gay Harden. “Almost every year had a change.”

But a designer can’t recall a decade past without adding a modern twist, so Steffe sent out a “candy” (translation: pink) tweed coat, over a pink swimsuit, with pointy high-heeled pumps — in pink, naturally. With lingerie on her mind, she also conjured up sheer camisoles, swing skirts and plenty of innocent-looking gingham.

Heavy hitters
Tuesday night belonged to heavy hitters Narciso Rodriguez, who stayed the course with lingerie-inspired eveningwear, and the house of Calvin Klein, where a new head designer is charged with the task of propelling forward the minimalist looks on which the company has based its name.

Things were not quite so innocent for Rodriguez, a favored designer of the moment for red-carpet entrances. He stayed with a successful formula for which he is known: long and lean fitted dresses, just below the knee, with corset details, often cast in a sand-colored linen.

At Calvin Klein, new head designer Francisco Costa is expected to carry forward the tradition of Klein, who has sold his company. Costa chose minimalist looks in the season’s popular shades of brown. Looks were as effortless and simple as a taffeta top and leather skirt, both in hues called “almond,” accessorized with spring’s ubiquitous high-heeled pointy-toed pump, but this time in jade.

Quiet clothes reigned, in a color called “foundation,” as in makeup that comes in a toffee color. It covered everything from sheer silk knit skirts to cashmere and silk tank tops and shorts.