For some, the shoulder were too broad. "I could wear my son's footballpads under those jackets," said Sallie Ann Robbins.
For others, the knee-length hems were too short. "No one really has pretty knees," said Patricia Gillepie
For a few, the prices were pretty astronomical. "I guess that's inflation," conceded Erlena Bland.
But all things considered, Washington women's first formal glimpse at the upcoming crop of clothes for all was one of general approval at a Bill Blass showing at Neiman Marcus yesterday. The store sold about $30,000 in Blass styles in the first afternoon.
Other fall collections have been shown here -- Oscar de la Renta at Elizabeth Arden, Calvin Klein at Garfinckel's -- but yesterday's was the first for this season with the designer standing by to help customers.
It was the same show that Blass had previewed in Paris in April. If the clothes didn't rouse much enthusiam from the French, they drew frequent applause on home territory. And by no slouch of a crowd.
A Neiman Marcus lucheon for 100 included some of the most fashionsavvy Washingtonians, among them Gillespie, an interior designer who was wearing a Bill Blass two-piece silk dress and shiny black straw hat; Connie Mellon, who is about to move back to New York; and White House assistant social secretary Marilyn Funderburk, in a Joan Sibley white linen suit.
Nouha Alhegelan, wife of the Saudi Arabian ambassador, admitted she was applauding the veiled hats since she wears veils when in Saudi Arabia. Yesterday she was wearing a silk print dress from Rety in Paris and a dipping, white straw hat.
The sockless Blass, who loosened his tie and turned back his cuffs over his light cotton jacket to cope with the heat, was not so practical about his clothes for women. Huge puffed sleeved and fur cuffs that couldn't possibly fit under coats in cold weather were questioned by Connie Mellon, once a Mainbocher model. Just the same, she added, "the show was up to Bill's standards."
"Women are looking for things that are special; not ordinary and not practical," said Blass. "The second you let being practical become an issue, you are dead. To make practical clothes that don't tempt anyone just won't sell."
He should know. In a recent store appearance in Detroit, he sold $90,000 worth of duds in two days. In Washington yesterday, women were making appointments with their salespeople to see the clothes today and tomorrow to avoid the crush in the dressing rooms.
The prices didn't seem to curtail interest: minimum dress, $500, up to $4,720 for a sable-trimmed python jacket and suede pants costume with crepe de chine blouse.
Blass hadn't counted on the python jacket to be such a big seller. He originally ordered enough snakeskin for 90 jackets (which sell for $3,000 per without the other parts) and already has sold out and had to reorder.
One person who wasn't buying yesterday was Alexine Jackson, a physician's wife. She sews most of her clothes and was heading home after the show to try a little do-it-yourself Blass design. CAPTION: Picture 1, Bill Blass with model Ann Palmer in a sable-trimmed python costume; Picture 2, A Blass big-sleeved evening dress, by Gerald Martineau -- The Washington Post.