Ten Best Looks from the New York Spring 2004 Shows

- by Bernadine Morris, senior editor lookonline.com

New! Click here for Fall 2004 10 Best Looks

Weird? Of course there are weird clothes. There wouldn't be a fashion week without them. But firmly entrenched in its tenth year of existence, New York fashion designers are now secure enough to embrace the reality factor, to make clothes women would like to wear, even to buy.

There is the resurgence of the suit, not the rigid, inflexible kind that women used to wear. Today's suits by practitioners such as Oscar de la Renta, Calvin Klein and Donna Karan are as simple as sweaters, smart worn over tailored white shirts.

Color is another factor. The total black look hasn't exactly disappeared. By designers like Ralph Rucci, it's been given a crisp new look with seams outlined in black patent piping. But it is supplemented by strong color in everything from dresses to swimsuits to give spring clothes a cheerful new season look.

And there is plenty of sparkle in sequin pants, for instance, with plain wool jackets. And of couse neatness counts as in Attil Kutoglu's pleated tunics and skirts.

Lengths are an option. Hemlines dip to one side, can be raised above the knees (not looking like 1960's revivals) or sweeping the floor. This includes pretty dresses, gentle suits, and glamorous evening clothes.

Below are my 10 ten best representative looks from the shows. All photos are by Randy Brooke. Click on images for larger views...

1. Stephen Burrows does gentle long flowered evening dress that follows the lines of the body.
 2. Calvin Klein's casual informal version of the suit, with jacket, shirt and knit pullover.
3. Ralph Rucci's elegant suit with jacket, soft ascot blouse and slender skirts.  
 4. Geoffrey Beene tops wine jumpsuit with orange bolero as part of his obeisance to color for spring.
 5.Donna Karan New York does separates to appeal to younger customers as well as more mature women.  
6.Ralph Lauren found inspiration in sports clothes as in this dress based on the tennis dress.
 7. Ralph Lauren does a hot pink evening dress that would be appropriate for any occasion.
 8. Oscar de la Renta does a long torso evening dress with full skirt in many colors.  
 9.Atil Kutoglu is one of the foreign designers to show in New York. Tunic has clean, flat pleats. .
 10.Bill Blass does strapless dress in the grand tradition with graceful, floating skirts.  
 Daily Fashion Report