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BCBG, Baby Phat among Fashion Week openers

Menswear designer John Bartlett also to unveil spring collection Friday
/ Source: The Associated Press

The news flash from New York Fashion Week may be the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Designers took fashion in a new direction for fall — full tops and skinny bottoms versus the slim tops and wide bottoms that had dominated runways for years — so they’re likely to do more of the same for spring, allowing shoppers time to figure out how to wear the new look.

More than 80 designers will preview their styles for next season over eight days at Fashion Week, which was set to open Friday with menswear designer John Bartlett at the tents in Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan.

Other designers slated to present their collections on opening day included BCBG Max Azria, Nicole Miller and Baby Phat by Kimora Lee Simmons.

The new styles for spring are likely to be more of an evolution than a revolution, said David Wolfe, creative director at The Doneger Group, a New York-based company that forecasts trends for retailers.

“The big deal for men and women for spring is all about the shape of things and the length of things. The look seems to be pretty much status quo — pretty knitwear, bare delicate tops, printed and screened T-shirts for the guys,” Wolfe told The Associated Press.

He added: “It makes sense. When a big silhouette change comes, it takes a few seasons to kick in.”

So far, Wolfe said he hasn’t heard of any item that will spark a shopping frenzy like leggings seem to have done for fall.

There is, however, a lot of buzz about natural and ecologically friendly clothes, said Wolfe, who expects to see more bamboo-, coconut- and soy-based fabrics.

Zac Posen, who will present his show Thursday, said he’ll continue with tailored suits but will use draped and fluid tops to update the look and play into the layering trend, which he said will still be a factor for spring.

“It’s my first time mixing it all together. I’m excited. ... I like bright pops, unexpected crisp pops,” Posen told the AP. “I love women in suits, and I like it better when suiting elements are incorporated into softer silhouettes.”

Other designers to present their spring 2007 collections at the Bryant Park tents and other venues throughout Manhattan included Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors and Bill Blass, and newcomers Verrier, Brian Reyes, Sari Gueron and Vena Cava.