March 1, 2001

Sexy Spring Styles

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The hottest trend in the new millennium seems to be gender bending. For spring and summer 2001, women don the new masculine chic, men find a new femininity, and androgyny has sex appeal for all.

While lady-like style is still prevalent in the spring collections, military sensibilities, minimalist accessories, and androgenous tailoring surfaced on almost every women’s wear catwalk around the globe.

Feminine allure was reserved for evening haute couture. High shine dresses were loaded with sequins and wallpaper styled florals, cut in silk and satin, exposing maximum skin. Calvin Klein, Gucci, Prada, and Givenchy led the way with their anything but demure dresses.

Bare shoulders and slender backs were the new erogenous zones. Whether strapless, low cut, wide-necked, cowl-necked, or simply plunging down the chest or back, the hottest dresses of the season featured skin and more skin. The torso wasn’t the only place to tease, as the mini skirt came back with a vengeance for spring. Worn with eighties style blouses that draped off the shoulder and high, spiked heels, the mini oozes sex.

Military looks evoked images of the eighties punk scene. Suits and accessories featured edgy, assymetrical, closely tailored shapes in army green and tan.

Accessories were kept to a bare minimum, in seeming rebellion against the uptown glamour worshiped last spring. In general, accessories seemed to take a cue from the elegant style of the fifties. Handbags took a turn from the clunky, bowling ball bag that dominated fall to skinny, rectangular clutches without the luxury of handles. Chanel, Fendi, Gucci, and Prada continued to lead the purse pack.

The rugged cowgirl style of Coyote Ugly and Madonna’s “Don’t Tell Me” video is surging as a huge trend. Wide cowboy style belts and horse-print fabrics sparkled with hints of rhinestones and rivets. Chloe’s emerald green dress, patterned with their signature white stallion, sizzled on the runway this spring.

Denim was also a trans-gender matter. The popular dark denim looks of the past have literally faded away into the lighter vintage denim look of spring, according to NYC Warehouse owner Caroline Roberts. Jill Stuart’s new denim collection is red hot and wanted, with seventies-era cuts and strategic fading.

White is white hot this season, especially when paired with black or red. White and black made a sensation at the Ralph Lauren show with their ability to sophisticate and slim. Pants, skirts, and suits from many designers were mostly cut from whites, ivories, and creams and paired with black, red, and an array of blues. Louis Vuitton and Miguel Adrover showed some of the finest of these ensembles.

Girlfriends looked more like boyfriends at Gucci, Armani, and Versace in the mod suits that embodied the androgenous look of the eighties. Drainpipe trousers, skinny ties, boxy-cut jackets, and cotton fabrics were paired with slinky lingerie style camisoles and blouses in light, girlish fabrics like silk. Tom Ford cut beautiful, easy, and elegant suits for Yves Saint Laurent.

In the spirit of gender bending, men owned the runways in laser-cut, fitted suits with bold pinstripes, and skinny ties. The look, dominated by the house of Dior, echoed back to the early days of the eighties when Armani and American Gigolo created the ultimate fashionable male. The suits reeked of uptown luxury cut in soft, rich fabrics like silk. Designer Yoji Yamaoto even showed a pajama-cut suit in a bright floral motif, testifying to the season’s theme of male femininity.

The preppy look also resurfaced from the days of Reagan and the Brat Pack. Models at Prada and Versace donned resort-wear neck scarfs. Marc Jacobs outfitted his men in fitted polo shirts with cuffs or cap sleeves and pastel sportswear pants with wide waistbands. Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Prada were even so bold as to resurrect pleats.

Dries Van Noten decked out his models in long sleeve polos and collared button-downs that layered stripes upon stripes of vibrant color.

The color drained from women’s wear was injected into men’s wear this spring. Reds, pinks, blues, yellows, and whites colored shirts, trousers, suits, and jackets. Costume National Homme featured the black and white trend for men with their stunning striped shirts. The black and white color palette was as prominent this season for men’s wear as it was for women, creating a dramatic and millennial look for the spring 2001 season.

Archived article by Laura Thomas