The ties have it as the No. 1 accessory for women in Paris this fall.

It's not a sober comment on the war between the sexes but an amusing takeoff on a clothing item that men acquire at the rate of 300 million a year in the United States alone.

Young Parisians are adding them now to their oversize, mannish clothes, and some designers looped them around the necklines of big, loose dresses and soft blouses in their ready-to-wear collections for next spring.

"It's not a heavy women's liberation trip," said Saks Fifth Avenue fashion coordinator Marilise Flusser, in town to see the shows. "It's a way of being friendly to men."

Rather than tying them snugly, they're being worn loose and unchoking. Skinny versions are favored, though scenic souvenir numbers have been spotted around the necks of well-dressed women.

The idea's not new. Ties have always been part of the chic riding ensemble for women. George Sand wore them with her masculine dress in the 1840s when many women had them as part of their grap for sports. Marlene Dietrich was a frequent tie wearer and Judy Garland often used them to add piquancy to her stage costumes.

And of course for Diane Keaton ties are an essential ingredient of her natural Annie Hall look.

In fashion terms, they're this season's successor to the scard, a point well made by Kenzo, who showed super-sized ties that reached to the knees and were sometimes worn by models flipped over the shoulder.

Flusser, from Saks, was wearing ties when she arrived in Paris and added to her wardrobe with custom-made silk bowties from Charvet on the Place Vendome as well as ties from the flea market. She sees the trend as a mix of nostalgia and Annie Hall. Flusser wears them with her traditional necklines. And occasionally she even ties her plaid shoelaces on around her neck.