How much noise does a falling hemline make? Apparently not too much these days.

Just as buyers were adjusting to the shorter hems in Milan they now have seen hemlines here hit a new low.

Karl Lagerfeld, one of the first with the shortest hems here, also offers some of the longest. Emanuel Ungaro and others like the full, long skirt as well as short ones for next fall.

Lagerfeld makes a particularly strong statement with the long, narrow black skirt for day wear. Three weeks ago, he sent out sketches of his dolman-sleeve full coat and jacket with the hemline cut well above the knee. On the sketches he wrote, "Short will be the length."

But just before the collections, he issued new sketches that included some hemlines just a few inches above the ankle.

"As I worked on the collection, I decided that I didn't always want to see the leg," said Lagerfeld in his workroom after his much-applauded show. "And I didn't want to show pants, though I know pants will be around forever. So I started to extend the long black skirt until it finally almost reached the ankle. Suddenly the mood was better with long skirts, and in the end I also invented something for the not-so-perfect leg."

For his show, Lagerfeld replaced some short skirts with longer ones with the same jackets. He added accordion boots that show beneath deep slits in the skirts. With his shorter lengths, he showed high heels and hose with seams.

Smart money, say most of the Washington buyers, is on a mix of lengths, but none of them extreme.

"That's the strength of the Ungaro collection," said Val Cook of Saks-Jandel. "A woman can add a short skirt to wear with what she already owns and have a fresh look this fall."

Cook was sitting with Marie Helene "Bootsie" Galbraith, wife of the American ambassador to France, at the Ungaro and Louis Fe'raud shows.

"I like all the lengths," said Galbraith, being cautiously diplomatic. "But I do think the real mini is for the very young." When Fe'raud showed a very short, beaded, feather-trimmed party dress, she laughed. "That might be nice. But not for going outside the embassy."

Micheline Peker, co-owner with husband Henri of La Boutique Franc,aise in Mazza Gallerie, remembers the last time she wore a miniskirt and is convinced women who remember the earlier craze will pass them up this time. Currently the shop is selling many of the Kenzo minis. "But even Kenzo, who started the long sweater-mini and tights, will show only two miniskirts on Wednesday," she said. "Many of his styles will be mid-calf and some to the ankle."

Judith Krull, personal shopper for Bloomingdale's, figures she will shorten some of her narrow skirts to just under the knee and wear flared or full skirts at mid-calf--and that is how she will advise her customers. As for ankle-length, she says, "It's very vampy and very sexy. It looks like an Erte' drawing and one could make a grand entrance for the evening wearing one."

But for now, Krull is passing up the long length to wear during the day. "Who wants to make a grand entrance into the office?" The Long Black Skirt By Nina Hyde Washington Post Staff Writer

PARIS, March 28--How much noise does a falling hemline make? Apparently not too much these days.

Just as buyers were adjusting to the shorter hems in Milan they now have seen hemlines here hit a new low.

Karl Lagerfeld, one of the first with the shortest hems here, also offers some of the longest. Emanuel Ungaro and others like the full, long skirt as well as short ones for next fall.

Lagerfeld makes a particularly strong statement with the long, narrow black skirt for day wear. Three weeks ago, he sent out sketches of his dolman-sleeve full coat and jacket with the hemline cut well above the knee. On the sketches he wrote, "Short will be the length."

But just before the collections, he issued new sketches that included some hemlines just a few inches above the ankle.

"As I worked on the collection, I decided that I didn't always want to see the leg," said Lagerfeld in his workroom after his much-applauded show. "And I didn't want to show pants, though I know pants will be around forever. So I started to extend the long black skirt until it finally almost reached the ankle. Suddenly the mood was better with long skirts, and in the end I also invented something for the not-so-perfect leg."

For his show, Lagerfeld replaced some short skirts with longer ones with the same jackets. He added accordion boots that show beneath deep slits in the skirts. With his shorter lengths, he showed high heels and hose with seams.

Smart money, say most of the Washington buyers, is on a mix of lengths, but none of them extreme.

"That's the strength of the Ungaro collection," said Val Cook of Saks-Jandel. "A woman can add a short skirt to wear with what she already owns and have a fresh look this fall."

Cook was sitting with Marie Helene "Bootsie" Galbraith, wife of the American ambassador to France, at the Ungaro and Louis Fe'raud shows.

"I like all the lengths," said Galbraith, being cautiously diplomatic. "But I do think the real mini is for the very young." When Fe'raud showed a very short, beaded, feather-trimmed party dress, she laughed. "That might be nice. But not for going outside the embassy."

Micheline Peker, co-owner with husband Henri of La Boutique Franc,aise in Mazza Gallerie, remembers the last time she wore a miniskirt and is convinced women who remember the earlier craze will pass them up this time. Currently the shop is selling many of the Kenzo minis. "But even Kenzo, who started the long sweater-mini and tights, will show only two miniskirts on Wednesday," she said. "Many of his styles will be mid-calf and some to the ankle."

Judith Krull, personal shopper for Bloomingdale's, figures she will shorten some of her narrow skirts to just under the knee and wear flared or full skirts at mid-calf--and that is how she will advise her customers. As for ankle-length, she says, "It's very vampy and very sexy. It looks like an Erte' drawing and one could make a grand entrance for the evening wearing one."

But for now, Krull is passing up the long length to wear during the day. "Who wants to make a grand entrance into the office?"