More important than the right look, the key to style this season is confidence. Gone are the power pads of the '80s, and rather than turn to the uptight Wall Street scene for fashion sense, what better timing then now for the all-empowering pimp look. Not that we condone their behavior, but their flashy peacock look has maintained respect in certain circles for over a century. Platforms have also returned in a big way to help women hold their footing. Ever see a pimp in a pair of spike heels? It's head-spinningly complicated to follow fashion's evolution these days as '80s power dressing has been replaced by the '90s version of the '70s Mack man - with a '30s twist attached. More in the attitude than the uniform, flashy and tough are accessorized best with a huge front of confidence, or a big fake fur collar. Talullah Bankhead meets Shaft. The pimp, like the peacock, rules the roost. You already have to have a certain amount of bravado to go this route anyway, so the rest should be easy. Now go strut.

Speaking of peacocks, feathers are all over the place this fall. One wonders how this one emerged out of nowhere, but nonetheless it's here. Peacock feather fedoras by mad hatter Kokin can be checked out at your local Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus stores, and work well with the au courant violet make up trend. Anna Sui has some groovy fall feather usage, and Gabriella Zanzani, an adorable Italian fashion fixture on Greene Street in Soho, says that the peacock was her "ponyprint" this season. For fall, her royal blue Mallard and Guinea duck feathered jackets sauntered down the runway to bird calls, followed by translucent quilted silhouettes that she stuffed with dyed down feathers. Brava. Her innovative collection also included incredible gowns made from a paper meets fabric blend, that made the models look like modern renaissance paintings. Very clever and very pretty. See Gabriella's spring collection, scheduled for 2PM, October 26 at Spy (101 Greene).

A Bird's eye view of Gabriella's Fall show

Men's suits, (the pimpier the better) are good for filling fall wardrobe voids. Best with a feminine edge (we're still girls) like vampy lipstick (either Chanel's namesake or Wet 'n' Wild #508 ). For the most in custom lip dressing, pick up a tube of solid black by Make Up Forever (# L86... Barneys, Pierre Michelle Salon) to blend with your useless, leftover reds ready for pasture. Added bonus: it doubles as smudgy black eye shadow.

The gender blending scene is not even unusual anymore. Pushing further into everyday - way beyond Ru Paul's MAC gig - you know it's time to find a new trend when you're a short haired girl in a man's suit sitting next to Billy Beyond out of drag - and you're both on the same casting for something as mainstream as a West cigarettes campaign.

The main vibe for fall is to mix all of it up. No, no, matchy, matchy. Mix crocheted tights and fishnets with unexpected colors, plaids, and fabric textures, and just when you think it's a bit too tacky to leave the house, you're probably on the right track. Walk tall, think and stand tall, wear longer (tall) silhouettes... long, long, long. Those platforms really help. Other fall key words are jersey & knits, leather & suedes, metallics & brights, aka lime green and orange. Lime green has stayed at the fair a bit too long, and gets tired in the make-up dept., but just about everybody looks good in some variation of orange.

Style wise, things really haven't evolved much since this time last year. The big ring contender's are still Simple versus the long playing '70s Pimpadelic influence, with that "modern" area somewhere in-between. Much of the current modification of true '70s silhouettes come from the bitter facts that producing those interesting decorative top-stitching and multi pieced pattern structures is very expensive. Shapes that come from bias cut construction leave wasted chunks of fabric excess, and is not very budget efficient. Straighter A-lines are not only less expensive to produce, but lend a more modern vibe. Yet another clue unraveling the lengthy play of simplistic dressing.

With more consumers fed up with the copycat system that's been giving American fashion a sour taste lately, companies that have proven to have longer staying power than Madonna are the ones to invest your bigger dollars in. The most original ideas immune to successful knock-offs seem to be coming from the Italian contingency. Watch for more Italian style invasion, as Little Italy jumps uptown to the Bendel's-Bergdorf's hood, with close to a dozen new boutiques due by next spring.

No one does Missoni's knits better than Missoni and no one ever will.

Jumpsuits are trying hard to come back, but they are really difficult for modern women to powder their noses in. Watch for easier Evel Knivel inspired flightsuits like the Fiorucci and Naf Naf ones from - you know the decade.

It was really hard to see anything clearly through the blizzard of fashion messages and venues clogging stylewaves during fall's show week. After the blur settled at the bottom of the paperweight, however, one could sort through the common throughlines and get a vague grip on the steering wheel of style and find the way home. Less than a month away, my collectionitis is acting up again, amplified by certain flashbacks.

The overpublicized Girls Rule show was one such fiasco. The girls did not rule, and the scene went way beyond the call of media stunt duty. The shocker came when the ill behaved door gorilla slammed the door in N.Y. Times' Amy Spindler's face. Nonetheless, the intrepid Amy darted down the library stairs and skillfully led the way through the winding underground maze. Fortunately, I followed fast in her coattails and made it through the gridlock alive, and just in time. Trying to be fair and judge the show fairly despite my annoyed state, in the end, it just wasn't worth the torture. The contenders did nothing new, and the time lapse between their "collections" and their "inspiration" wasn't long enough to pull a successful scam. Tip: Before knocking anything off for press review, wait a few seasons after the original debut.