Designers in Italy had the urge first. But gently, subtly, with just a little metallic leather piping on shoes more than a year ago. Not long after that a host of bronze, copper and gold shoes were gilding the streets, and soon bronze belts gleamed from fashion runways, particularly in Paris.

Last season Yves Saint Laurent showed a gold leather skirt and a group of blouses and skirts that appeared to be washed in gold. From then on, everyone got the urge, and clothes for both day and evening began taking on metallic overtones faster than you can say "Eureka!"

This summer metallic accessories are the quickest way to update a wardrobe, brightening daytime things as much as (maybe more than, since they're so unexpected) evening ones. The trend should continue into fall: as of this moment stores are even stockpiling metallic accessories. At season's end there should be a melt-down instead of a markdown -- the industry knows when it's struck it rich. CAPTION: Pictures 1 through 3, Fake snake with a copper glow, by Salvatore Ferragamo, from Italy, at Saks Fifth Avenue, $138. Bronze hose by Givenchy at Hecht's, $4.50; Gold on copper beads, by Susan Tamulevich, Full Circle and Saks Jandel, $700; earrings, $75. Bronze moccasin, Saks, $70; bronze flat by Joan and David at Ann Taylor, $88; Vittorio Ricci perforated pump, bronze or gold, Saks, $185. Pictures 4 through 8, Bronze and metallic purple crested belt at Commander Salamander, $9; Bronze leather sash with metallic rope buckle, from I. Magnin, $85; short bronze leather jacket from Ann Taylor, $250; quilted shoulder bag, Hecht's, $41; pouchy shoulder bag by Vasilis for Trotting, Bloomingdale's, $115. Photos By Peter Garfield