In the ways of the schizophrenic fashion business, last season's hype is often the next season's markdown. But not at Jackie Rogers' place, where mannish tailoring -- this fall's recurring theme -- never looked better or more feminine than as she does it for spring.
Rogers is the former Coco Chanel model who opened a successful Madison Avenue walk-up menswear boutique-cum-barber shop in 1968 and in 1977 started wholesaling her menswear designs. She knows more about menswear than most, and it shows in her navy pin-stripe, sleekly tailored dress, which is very fitted and very feminine. "Masculine clothes belong on a man," says Rogers, in a jab at the currently popular androgynous look.
Rogers, who likes to use fabric on the bias to get a clingier, drapier effect, has a successor to the silver lame' suit that Diana Ross and others snapped up this fall. It is a silver lame' short, draped dress that some are likely to wear with her lame' trench coat.
Two other designers who have deftly adapted their menswear skills to the new leaner line are Alexander Julian and Andrew Fezza. They both started in menswear as well and have produced their best collections for women so far. Julian's quite fitted collarless jackets, blazers and camp shirts take full advantage of his strong color sense. Julian has also found new things to do with the classic Irish fisherman's knits, including a thick crunchy cotton sweater paired with a lacier knit skirt that refreshes this familiar, cold-weather style.
Fezza's small, 30-piece collection offers a number of fresh ideas including a new wrap pant with a petal detail; it wraps from the side to the front of the pants leg. His origins as a menswear designer -- he won the Coty Award for his menswear designs this year -- is apparent in his well-formed jackets, such as the short-fitted jacket in gray linen that he pairs with pleated trousers, the burlap blouson, and the big muslin overcoat with leather piping tracing the shoulder seams.