Designers themselves were more dressed up when they took their bows at the end of their shows this season. Gianfranco Ferre was wearing a navy suit when he walked down the runway after his show while the crowd stood and cheered. Giorgio Armani wore a striped button-down shirt and tie -- no jacket, and Karl Lagerfeld, as usual, a perfectly tailored double-breasted suit.
For the first time Claude Montana, who designs in Italy for Complice, appeared on the runway in his usual military surplus windbreaker and not in jeans but blue cotton trousers. In the collection he included a group of clothes inspired by his love for the West, perhaps even Montana, in a red-and-black color scheme including a scaled-down buffalo check, hip belts, lariats and a T-shirt with a wild-horse print and black leather jeans.
In another sequence Montana played the pajama game, which he has more of a right to than others since he started the bathrobe and pajama look in his last Paris collection, widely copied in Europe and on Seventh Avenue.
This time he literally uses men's easy-fitting, easy-cut summer cotton pajamas for women to wear. Under robes he shows men's boxer shorts and undershirts for women.
Sheila Weidenfeld, the former press secretary to Betty Ford, was the first to cheer when the short hemlines came down the runway at Laura Biagiotti. Weidenfeld was at the show with her mother, Ruth Rabb, whose husband is U.S. ambassador to Italy, and both figured the new short hemlines would work well on their own not-too-tall stature. "It means I won't have to take up any hems next fall," said Weidenfeld, who had just returned from the Republic of San Marino, where she is honorary consul.