Need is speculative. The Zen Buddhist needs only a simple sheath to cover the body. Enlightenment within is their only accessory. Then again, some people really, really need their Manolos. The utilitarian fashion craze is a serious oxymoron. The heightened message about simplicity in stylish function as we evolve towards Nirvana - as the trend du jour - is a little bit silly. Non? Have you ever spotted a fashionably au courant persona actually wear their hood - on their head? Nonetheless, style seekers need that connection to overall fashion consciousness. The puzzle to solve this season is how to be a functioning "in-the-know" utilitarian without losing your own - or whatever sense of style is lurking beneath the simple surface. Fierce repercussions can result from too focus on the staid, simple and functioning. An optimum style core in good working order can't be repressed for too long, as one's true style sensibilities will start oozing through the cracks eventually and could suddenly explode in a head to toe Gucci/Versace ensemble. So be careful. The big zen message is really all about balance anyway. Capishe?

Simple, simple, simple, yawn, is not the center of the universe, otherwise energetic lines like custo BARCELONA would not be making the splash that they are in the pool of simplicity. Selling out at breakneck speed everywhere from Nordstroms, Saks and Bendels - to out of the way granola boutiques in college towns and upstate New York. Albeit a bit "Fiorucci inspired", Custo offers all the colorful fun of the Delia's catolog to a broad range of youthful, quality-conscious customers.

An opposite style camp - born out of the quantum theory/ying-yang/push-pull of it all - to anti-khaki activist parents - can be spotted by its resemblance to Hiawatha meeting the Marlboro Man at Timothy Leary's - and clearly offers the better time. The brand new thing about the continued rocker hippy revival is its relaxed return to denim.

Remember the very recent era of never leaving the house in jeans that weren't dark enough (even the downest glamour-boys were getting them dry-cleaned) - in loyal homage to our dark denim godfather Helmut Lang? Most of us have digressed by now, and have tossed a pair or two into the washer - and now the time is ripe again to wear them freely in all their faded glory. It is also safe to wear your old denim jackets now, without looking like a total dufus. Times are virtually rule free: Mix your denims with prints, and prints with florals, and animals with batiks and fringe and don't be afraid. One small rule applies: Don't do double denim.

Anna Sui makes good use of MTV hosts, past and present.

As always, the style blendometer will slide as far to the the left or right - as the comfort zone of your own personal style control room will permit. Blending a smidgen of Eastern flavor can add the right spice twist to spring wardrobe revamp, beyond the popular Native American Indian inspired trail. And if you try sometimes you just might find, you get what you need. Which brings us to our: SPRING STUDIO STYLE CRAFT