NEW YORK, NOV. 1 -- Louis Dell'Olio went mod, Bob Mackie went south, and the fashion crowd, moving one day closer to spring, went downtown tonight for Isaac Mizrahi.
In a loft in SoHo, not far from where he first shook fashion's stiff skirts, Mizrahi went back to the Colony Club of his mind and started sketching -- madly. There was so much irony working in his show -- the nail-polish pink patent leather jackets, the pilgrim collars, the burlap Shaker smocks, the baseball dresses -- that it verged on camp, but only just. It was as if he was testing the crowd. Try this blue metallic lunar bodysuit. Put on that prissy Peter Pan collar. Wear this pert pleated skirt, that Donna Reed dress with the white patent belt and satin mules.
While other designers this week have simply aped their mothers' clothes, Mizrahi has borrowed only their spirit. He's brought humor to the boxy luncheon suit by lathering the shoulders with a big bell collar and given moxy to the hostess skirt with layers of poppy chiffon. Even his program descriptions are a sendup: "DAR Coats," "A Wink in Pink," "Picnic Suits." If you can't laugh, don't wear the clothes.
About the only thing missing from Dell'Olio's on-the-money collection for Anne Klein was a pair of white go-go boots. Perhaps it's just as well he avoided '60s camp, though, because this was a brisk view of '91 with only the merest vapor trail of Andre Courreges in the air.
Dell'Olio applied a steady hand to A-line coats and trapeze dresses in geometric blocks of red, white and navy. A newer checkerboard mix is black and white with kelly green, that old WASP standby now taken up by such designers as Claude Montana and Oscar de la Renta.
Many of Dell'Olio's collarless, zip-front jackets either skirt the hips or square off at the waist for a boxy effect. Zip-front skirts ride easily on the hips without waistbands. Shift dresses abound, but so what else is new on Seventh Avenue? Dell'Olio shows his clothes with pearly hosiery, another prevailing theme for spring.
His Modness also has a taste for big dogtooth checks in black and white or, better, shocking pink and red. Not only at Anne Klein but throughout the American collections, the spirit of Christian Lacroix hovers. That the Parisian's palette and patterns creep into the collections of such designers as Dell'Olio and Bill Blass is, if nothing else, an affirmation of his influence. It's also noteworthy that Dell'Olio, in a fresh American way, carries forward Montana's ideas on A-line symmetry for spring.
None of this tulip-time finesse compared, however, with the dinner Giorgio Armani threw Wednesday night at the Museum of Modern Art. Never one to spare a detail, Armani created the kind of twilight illusion he likes. There were hundreds of flickering candles, beds of white roses on the tables, beige cushions for every chair and dozens of waiters to deliver risotto, veal medallions and wedges of polenta and to keep the champagne bottles tipped.
"This party must be the hot ticket," said Bloomingdale's Chairman Marvin Traub, surveying the crowd, which included Richard Gere, Robert De Niro, Nora Ephron, Sigourney Weaver, John Kennedy Jr., Caroline Kennedy and her husband, Edwin Schlossberg, Martin Scorsese and Pat Riley, the former coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.
When Armani entered the room sometime between risotto and the polenta, his 250 or so guests applauded.
"It's like a bar mitzvah," whispered a retailer.
The reason for this gathering of fashion gurus and celebrities was ostensibly to view "Made in Milan," the documentary about the designer's life that Scorsese was hired to make for a reported $2 million. Then again, any goodwill gesture that brings together fashion and society is bound to be viewed as good publicity.
In any case, it was after midnight when the last guests said good night to their host and tripped home.
If they recovered early enough today, they might have ventured down to 29th Street for Michael Leva's show. "Calm" describes his clothes to a T, or to a dress. There were many (too many) wedge-shape dresses in puritanical blush, putty and sand. His best pyramid coats were a white plastic rain slicker and another white version in a plaid of nylon and linen. This synthetic touch was refreshing.
Give Bob Mackie a place in the sun -- Vegas, Mexico or Palm Springs -- and he names a dress after it. His shows are still the corniest thing since someone put a model in chicken feathers and told her to walk. And no matter what everyone else is doing in fashion, Mackie does it his way.
As if there were any doubt where he was vacationing, Mackie opened his show with a model in a white lace bikini carrying a Vegas-size basket of lilies on her head to the cha-cha of Harry Belafonte. White lace dresses dripped with more points of lace. A simple black matte jersey dress was jazzed up with a mural of sequins under the bosom. Rhinestones poured into the cleavage of a white gown. This is fussy chic for women who want their clothes to enter a room before they do.
But Mackie peaks when he lets his beads fly. A floral beaded mini-dress with a spray of embroidered flowers over one shoulder and a fringed hem was a cocktail shaker of sex appeal. And when he sent out two models in fluorescent swing coats, they swished and flirted and then popped open their coats.
"Ah!" went the audience.
One would have thought the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center had just been switched on, rather than the radiant glint of beads in orange and green.