You would hardly expect less from the woman who designed the gloves for Prince to wear on his most recent national tour. Lacrasia Duchein, whose glove business is called LaCrasia Creations, gave what must have been the first runway fashion show devoted entirely to gloves Thursday evening at the Parsons School of Design.
In a season when all accessories, and particularly gloves, are an essential element to distinguish sometimes rather familiar designs, Lacrasia, as she calls herself, and designer Sachiko Kanai have developed a wonderfully imaginative collection. And 12 dancers from the Phil Black Studio, dressed in black stretch bodysuits, performed extraordinary precision routines to show them off. Even the photographers put down their cameras to applaud after some of the remarkable routines.
The point that it was a glove show was never lost, even when one dancer was being slung over the shoulder of another or whipped across the floor by a third. The gloves were always in the spotlight.
There were black gloves with day-glo tassels (and matching hats and leg warmers), jeweled gloves and lace gloves, bright-colored gloves and bicolored gloves. Some gloves looked like French tapestry and a patriotic pair was navy with cuffs of red and white striped glitz. In one sequence, gloves with chiffon wings looked as though they were aflame. Others were buttoned onto a brief top with shoulder pads -- was it a jacket with gloves attached or gloves with a jacket attached? It didn't matter -- the audience loved it.
There were also the longest gloves in the world, the 100-button shimmery, sheer nylon gauntlets. And of course, the grand finale, as in all classic fashion shows -- a bride in embroidered white gloves with long ribbons and white mink cuffs. These were also the most expensive in the show -- $600 -- but others will sell for $10.
The renewed interest in gloves, with designers like Geoffrey Beene last week showing every dress with gloves -- including every evening dress -- may well have to do with the return of dressier fabrics and clothes. But Lacrasia thinks the glove renaissance also reflects the fact that gloves have been so ignored for so long and that times are ripe for an injection of color and style.
Besides, the way the video community uses gloves -- with many singers wearing gloves, for example -- they're getting a lot of attention. "And women are finding out it is easy to spice up an old outfit with a dashing pair of new gloves," said Lacrasia after her show.
She started her business in 1980 and provides custom-made gloves for leading designers, including Calvin Klein, Erte, Givenchy and Bill Blass. In the beginning she had to persuade nearly retired glove makers to teach her the trade. Her first line consisted of what she called roller-disco gloves, and she sold only about 100 pairs to Macy's. She now ships more than 100,000 pairs each year.
In 1983 Japanese-born designer Sachiko Kanai started designing for LaCrasia as well. As a child she had designed doll clothing, which she says is not very different from designing gloves -- "It involves working on very intricate patterns in very small places."