When the mimes in Pierrot costume beckoned the guests at the Folger Shakespeare Library into the theater for the Chanel Boutique show, few moved. But when Lady Marjory Wright, wife of the British ambassador, put two fingers in her mouth and whistled, everyone knew the show was about to start.

It was the first benefit for the Folger Shakespeare Theatre (others have been for the library) and the first major fashion show of the season. The Chanel clothes had a familiar look to them, with the Chanel signature chains, the buttons, the accessories -- but they were made to look much younger with shorter hems, flat shoes, a more body-conscious silhouette and lots of sweaters.

The knits were among the freshest things in the show, nifty fitted cashmere sweaters, some of them in sets with a huge cashmere triangle to match a sweater worn with long skirts. There was even a sweater trio, the third matching sweater worn (for fun) tied around the hips.

Karl Lagerfeld, who designs the collection, used the ruffled neckline of the Pierrot (taken from a painting by Antoine Watteau) as the inspiration for a small group of evening clothes, but clearly the evening wear was at its best when it was simple, like a pale pink satin shirt worn open to reveal a lace camisole underneath, teamed with a long black crepe kilt.

The women looked best in the simplest possible evening clothes. Among them were Nancy Unger, Commerce Committee staff for Sen. John Danforth (R-Mo.). She wore a white satin blouse and trousers by Jonathan; Sarah Gewirz in a dress with white pleated bodice and black skirt by James Galanos; and Val Cook, vice president of Saks-Jandel, sponsor of the show, who was wearing Chanel, of course.