Ten Best Looks from the New York Spring 2005 Shows

- by Bernadine Morris, senior editor lookonline.com New! Click here for The Best Looks for the New York Fall 2005 Shows

After ten years, 7th on Sixth has solidified its position as one of the world's leading venues for fashion presentations. Designers from all over the world choose to introduce their collections in New York. Viewers too are international in their scope. The shows also seem better organized. Double runways, going from stage to rear and then returning down a parallel route improved the sight lines.

But after all, it all depends on the clothes. And this time they were more than respectable. At the upper end of the scale, Chado Ralph Rucci and Ralph Lauren presented collections that would rank high in any setting. So did Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera and Geoffrey Beene, proving that experience counts. But relative newcomers like Patrick Robinson for Perry Ellis Womenswear and numerous others gave well-received presentations. There is something for everyone at modest as well as couture levels. .

What gave the showings their special cachet was an emphasis on easy, fluid, thin fabrics that moved freely. Pailletes and sequins heightened the effects, as did fabrics mixtures like chiffon and linen . Taken together, there was plenty of individuality in the clothes. And if it would have been impossible for any single person to views the close-to-200 scheduled shows, there was sufficient variety to give any conscientious viewer a good idea of the coming spring season.

The argument about luxury and glamour versus practicality lost a lot of its thunder. Both developments had their adherents. Each was responsible for giving breadth and depth to the new season. It was the range of choices that gives strength to the new clothes, from casual sports styles clothes to drop dead party fashions. In fact the wide sweep of choices should prove beneficial as women do not have to fit themselves into an established pattern but can pick the clothes they feel are most flattering to them.

Of course there are some recurring trends--it wouldn't be fashion without them . Count the reappearance of blazer jackets as well as brief boleros, mixes of contrasting fabrics, a profusion of ruffles to soften necklines and plenty of off-beat prints and embroideries. The list is extensive, which makes a problem of picking the "ten best." Still there are clothes that will not only sell well, but are likely to influence the flow of fashion. Their diversity alone is a good sign. For besides making their "statement" designers this time seem interested in clothes women will actually want to wear. A common denominator is (with a few exceptions like a corset "top") they are cut with a fluidity that makes them easy to wear and in most case flattering to the body. Constraint it would seem is not part of the modern order.

Below are my 10 ten best representative looks from the shows. They are in no particular order. All photos are by Randy Brooke. Click on images for larger views...

1. Carolina Herrera: Brief jackets are a sign of the new season, in both casual and dressy cothes, as in this Carolina Herrera dress and jacket. .
 2. Ralph Rucci: Elegant seaming and narrow pleating are subtle details at Chado Ralph Rucci, giving the clothes a couture flavor.
3. Oscar de la Renta: Even a tennis dress can have glamour and elegance at Oscar de la Renta, where ruffles give the skirt a sense of movement.  
 4. Ralph Lauren: The softness of a full skirt lends distinction to Ralph's dressy clothes while retaining their graceful shape.
5. Calvin Klein: Irregular panels in two or more colors give sweep to Calvin Klein evening dress in colors like red with grey.  
6. Donna Karan: Bare shoulder dresses by Donna Karan have an old-fashioned but still contemporary flavor, especially when bodices are molded by seaming.
7. Roberto Menichetti: Sportswear is one of the specialties of Menichetti who can give elegance and grace to shorts outfits with jackets.
8. Kenneth Cole: If preppy looks make a strong stand in spring business Kenneth Cole is sure to be a leader with everything from narrow pants to soft jackets.  
9. Narciso Rodriguez: The shirtwaist dress of yesterday has been updated by Rodriguez who, along with shift dresses, revives historical designs. .
10. Michael Kors: Like many designers, michael likes to mix bold patterns in outfits that have an arresting charm.  
 Daily Fashion Report