Professional Insider/Trend Spotting
Designers steal looks from the armed forces for spring
Whether its spurred by President Bushs campaign promises to beef up the military or reflects a deep yearning to dress women to look like Fidel Castro, designers are marching into spring with fashions inspired by military uniforms.
The classic trench coat, inspired by the functional garment worn by British officers in World Wars I and II, is trendy this year, helped by the resurgence of once-staid fashion house Burberry. For spring, Burberry rethinks the coat into a sleeveless dress, though the double-breasted style and belt remain true to the trench form.
Taking fashion cues out of the officers quarters and into the field, troops of designers are creating apparel out of camouflage fabrics. Once again Burberry mines the military base for a halter with desert hues. Michael Kors cotton pants in shades of white, tan, brown and green are leavened by the pattern created by flower and leaf shapes. Christian Dior shows a fatigue jacket that could have come from the local Army/Navy surplus store, except for the $1,580 price tag.
Beyond Dog Tags
To civilize these tough military looks, direct customers toward bold jewelry. Long pendants or tassel necklaces mimic regulation-issue dog tags, feminizing fatigues. The pendant from Bulgari worn under the trench dress in Elle has enough bulk to stand up to the strong lines of the collar of the dress. Large metal cuffs and rings will also temper the fire power of strong military designs.
by Liz Smutko