Other options for femmeing up your wardrobe stem from the long playing Asian influence, with rich textures and colors. As sad as we are to see it go (except in slip form) polyester is being replaced by natural fabrics like cottons and silks, and Indian Sari fabric is popping up everywhere. The accompanying fear of what to put on your feet has been quelled by the greatest shoes we've seen lately. They come from the adorable L.A. based Adrianna Caras who makes incredible embroidery covered boots and platform shoes, out of authentic Chinese silks and finds from India.

For divine inspiration (with the Orient Express still running on the fashion track), the John Galliano windows at Bergdorf Goodman did the trick. All the girls got fierce geisha make-up before they were carted down for all the world to see. With Bergdorf's own display whiz, Linda Fargo, at the helm, a good time was had by all. Outside of the store window scene, the point is still all about mixing. Think multi-culture, not nationalism.

Fear of femininity aside, there's still a real style split down the middle. While pretty maidens all in a row dance around the Maypole wearing Dolce, multitudes of the urban design genre are joining the Phats and the Wus of the world, so we get to see more underwear logo elastic peeping out of really baggy jeans. Viva la difference, but it's sad that hip hop dress code has priced itself right out of the real urban scene. Knock offs can be arranged however, on NYC's Orchard and Canal Streets, where you can find whichever label genre rocks your boat, from Hilfiger to Gucci.

Down with Maurice Malone.

There's one very friendly Canal Street vendor who actually lets you custom design your own Prada and Chanel bags. And remember, no matter how carried away you get, always be sure and keep your need for name brands in check. Read: That running shoe favorite and Heaven's Gate.

Over urbanizing often leads to a dead end. What's hip is hip, mainly, because it's not mainstream yet. As soon as a Revlon had their version of Urban Decay nail polish, we all knew it was time to move on. Too little too late guys, you should've asked Cindy first. You just can't market research fashion. As soon as the votes are in for, fashion trends quickly mutate themselves into something altogether more fabulous, leaving the research team in the dust. For example, in fantasy land, the ad world's latest great idea is to sell product in a fashion show setting. Sprite, Polaroid, Dr. Pepper, U.P.S. andOld Navy drank from the same water fountain, and decided all at once, that this was the missing link for cutting edge TV commercials. In the real world, show week is no one's idea of a good time, and you just can't fake the scene, (ask Robert Altman). This season, more editors were caught dodging shows and hiding from their senior editors than ever. The non momentous week of headaches and kissing people hello whose names you don't remember, fortunately had one enlightening effect on the fashion community. More designers are finally deciding to spend less focus on the show and more time on actual design.

Behind-the-scenes with Sprite.

Speaking of advertising, nothing really beats word of mouth. The best sales are always overheard in the ladies' room, or by stalking stylists. But what remains a mystery is why exactly the Heaven's Gate crowd chose Nike over other name brands. Truth IS stranger than fiction and of all places to supplement a groovy wardrobe, Brooks Brothers has an unadvertised 75% off sale twice a year, that creates shock value unsurpassed by any Loehmann's or Century 21. The traditionalist Brother's Brook have been really trying hard to rev up their cool factor, and accidental or not, it's working. Post winter clearance happens around March, and the summer stock begins to go around Father's Day with the big blow-out near August. Plan now, and have big fun.

Shopping Guide: First stop is TG170 @ 170 Ludlow (tel.212-995-8660). Get Adrianna Caras shoes at SWELL on Lafayette, take a right on Prince Street to get to The Dressing Room. Head west, to Anna Sui on Green Street. Brooks Brothers are everywhere.

© Fashion Icon
June 1997