Six months ago designer Stephen Burrows walked away from Seventh Avenue and his plans "to dress the world" and returned to the small manufacturing business with Pat Tennant at prestigious Henri Bendel.
"I thought I wanted to dress everyone," said Burrows, who spent three years designing clothes for mass production. "But then I saw who everyone was and all they wanted was polyester. They didn't care about anything as long as it washed, and I knew it wasn't for me."
Each time he showed his clothes on Seventh Avenue, his loyal pals among the buyers showed up hoping to find some of the rare Burrows' inventiveness of his pre-Seventh Avenue days, when he discovered new ways to cut, patch tokether and finish the hems on fabrics, mix colors explosively, and to cleverly combine jersey and chiffon.
On Friday morning, the final day of last week's major New York presentations, the Burrows fans gathered again, this time on the second floor of Henri Bendel. And they weren't disappointed.
Burrows is the master cutter of fabric, and this time he proved he hadn't lost the knack whether in knits or woven fabrics, chamois or shearling, chiffon or crepe.
Standouts included a one-shoulder blouson anchored with a drawstring tie, and the bloused chamois minitunic, trimmed with bronzed leather (Burrows shows many short dresses over thick tights which also could be worn as tunics). The soft blouses and drawstring pants, the dresses with their asymetrical necklines and hemlines also brought applause.
Burrows drapes gold or silver mesh like liquid metal for jackets or capes that could revive any vintage dress in the closet, but are also splendid on his own designs.
His chiffons are still the most innotative around, sometimes tiered, sometimes sliced at the hem to show off the lightweight, floaty effect of the fabric.
Robert Sakowitz, president of Sakowitz's, the Texas specialty chain, praised the clothes as being more wearable than before, yet highly innovative.
And Ellen Saltzman, Saks Fifth Avenue's fashion director, was effusive alter the show "Thank God," she cried. "It was terrific. It was really something new." (Saks Fifth Avenue will have the clothes in Washington.)
"He's back to being the incredible talent he was three years ago," added Jean Harwood, chairman of Tobe and Assoc, consulting firm to stores including Gerfinckel's and Woodward & Lothrop. CAPTION: Picture 1, Stephen Burrows assymetrically-tied blouson dress.; Picture 2, Burrows bronzed mesh tap with shiffen shirt. [WORDS ILLEGIBLE]