In the closing days of fashion's two week world series, so far only a few big-league designers are batting over .300.
While most top fashion teams have come up with dressy and shaped clothes for fall after many seasons of a sloppy, carefree look, the only heavy hitters have been Ralph Lauren. Richard Assatly, John Anthony, Harriet Winter and Perry Ellis.
But there are two more days to go, and some of the most promising players are still on deck, including Calvin Klein, Mary McFadden, Donna Karan (Anne Klein) and Halstor.
Meanwhile, these are a few of the looks that have scored highest with retail buyers here:
A silhouette that is broad at the top and narrows to the hem, usually with a belted waistline.
Bright colors, particularly fuschia, plum, teal and marigold - mixed, standing alone or as an accent with black.
Suits galore - often with puffed or pleated shoulders and slim skirts, sometimes eased with pleating - and lots of evening suits.
Sweaters (no surprise in a season of close-fitting styles) generally textured and belted, to be worn under suits or to stand alone with skirts or pants. And the return of the beaded evening sweater and beaded evening jacket.
Fabries textured for tactile appeal and interesting appearance: poodlecloth, teddy bear, Persian lamb, quilting and especially velvet - with the dual allure of texture and the way it takes color and black.
With the narrower silhouette, a shorter hemline (just below the knee) touches all bases in coats, dresses and skirt - but strikes out when last year' skirts are worn underneath this year's coats.
Lengths are about the same as last year's 7/8 coat. And since there are virtually no boots being shown, no one is stretching hemlines to close the gap. Legs are very much in view, usually colored with hose.
Many designers coming out of a poor sales season last fall, are relying on suits - which were strong for spring."Suits are great for the way Washington women live," says Garfinckel's Janet Wallach. "But it certainly would be nice to see other things." Nancy Chistolini of Woodward/Lothrop breathed a sign of relief when dresses finally appeared at Richard Assatly, after so many suits everywhere else. She particularly liked Assatly's bi-color and tri-color dresses for day and evening.
Chistolini says that when the shows are over, she will have to "separate the fantasy from the reality" - and consider the customers' needs, which is what the buying game is all about. CAPTION: Picture, Anne Klein's 7/8 coat, by Margaret Thomas-The Washington Post