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Archive for Saturday, December 30, 2000

Cold-weather fashion

Designers boost sales with cozy, chic clothes

December 30, 2000

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— Jack Frost is no friend of the fashion crowd. But instead of plotting revenge for your flattened hat hair, it is more fun and much more stylish to get even by bundling up in the latest trends.

Outerwear is no longer an afterthought, as designers are launching cold-weather collections and traditional cold-weather lines are boosting their designs.

Chanel, a longtime favorite of the city sophisticates, launched a skiwear collection this year that includes waterproof, windproof parkas and apres-ski sweaters.

There is an avant-garde edge to the skiwear including a knit cowl collar and oversized knit cuffs on a white windowpane jacket with detachable sleeves but skiwear nonetheless.

"Sportswear today must be functional, modern and fashionable at the same time. There is no reason that sportswear and fashion be considered incompatible," says Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld.

Fashionable and functional

Speaking from the other end of the fashion spectrum, Jarlath Mellett, senior vice president of design for sportswear specialist Eddie Bauer, says, "Look at your outerwear. Dress it up and look current but keep its functionality."

Colorful scarves and hats have become favorite fashion accessories for the season, says Mellett. So are blanket-like, fringed shawls draped over traditional wool dress coats and dressy-looking leather gloves that are lined with fleece.

"Accessories are the outfit-completers. They offer more options and they take into consideration the comfort factor," Mellett says.

Sweater coats for women and bulky sweaters paired with lightweight windbreakers are also comfortable because they are less restrictive than a typical winter coat.

Mellett says goose down which is surprisingly lightweight is fashionable again. To keep it from looking too casual, wear a down jacket with flannel trousers and a fine merino wool sweater, he suggests, but never let the sweater or a blazer hang below the bottom of the jacket.

Fur will fly

And fur, which had been off the trendy list for years, is back and available to a younger clientele in more affordable forms of collars, cuffs and ascots.

Fur is more functional than you might think, says Gilles Mendel, the designer of J Mendel Furs and J Mendel for Legend Mink.

Fur accessories added to the neck and sleeves of either a coat, suit or dress keep the wind out. Mendel also suggests a fur beret that covers the ears as a modern take on a classic.

"There is no fabric that has been invented that is as warm as fur," Mendel says.

Some customers have opted for looks that don't even look like fur, he adds, including dyed fur in burgundy, camel and green, or grooved fur that feels like corduroy.

The felted cashmere used in the new Fitigues ski collection feels like fur because of its softness and warmth, says company designer Andi Rosenstein. The new line uses the cashmere in nontraditional styles like hooded sweatshirts and zip turtlenecks.

Fancy fabrics

Advances in fabric technology also have allowed for sleeker and more creative designs that are still practical.

Gore-Tex, a waterproof, breathable fabric, and Thinsulate Insulation are important components of the new London Fog Signature collection, which features business casual-like jackets for men that bridge the gap between the traditionally sporty Gore-Tex and the typically traditional London Fog.

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