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The New York shows are over, and the muted mood of fall 2006 has begun to emerge: dark, stormy colors, big sweaters, and a scattering of blasts from the eighties past. From leggings and booties to a little velvet dress, here’s what you need to know about the shape of things to come.

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From left: Zac Posen, Thakoon, Ralph Lauren, Proenza Schouler, Marc Jacobs   

  1. 1.Your Leggings Are No Longer for the Gym.

    It’s a lean season for the bottom half. Zac Posen and Ralph Lauren were among the many who championed the stovepipe trouser. For the brave of backside, Thakoon’s plain black legging with a shrunken pea is as modern as it gets. For the rest of us, they’re handy when it comes to layering. (And it frequently does this season, too.)






    From left: Marc Jacobs, Derek Lam, Karl Lagerfeld, Michael Kors, Zero Maria Cornejo   

  2. 2. You’ll Cuddle Up in Roomy Knits.

    Every so often, designers really do keep comfort in mind. When the blizzard of ’07 arrives, you’ll have plenty of sweaterdresses to choose from: Derek Lam’s is roomy in black and white, while Karl Lagerfeld’s is slinkier, with peekaboo cutouts all along its sides. And Zero Maria Cornejo belted a white sweater-coat for a sleeker silhouette.






    From left: Donna Karan, Marc Jacobs, Narciso Rodriguez, Brian Reyes, Vera Wang  

  3. 3. You’ll Go Into a Cocoon.

    Balenciaga (Cristóbal, that is) must have been on everyone’s mind because the great designer’s elegant signature cocoons showed up on everything from a Marc Jacobs jacket to a brocade skirt by Vera Wang. It’s a more flattering volume than previous seasons, when far fuller experiments dominated the runway. Next fall, restraint will rule.






    From left: Vera Wang, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Thakoon, Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren   

  4. 4. You’ll Blow Off Your Blow-out.

    Because hats are big, big news. Floppy chapeaus were paired with evening dresses (Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs), tidy berets added a clichéd yet effective Parisian charm to just about everything at Thakoon, and Vera Wang’s velvet toppers evoked the androgynous chic of Romeo Gigli.






  5. 5. You’ll Go Mad for Plaid.

    Really! The glamorous cut of Marc Jacobs’s wrap coat kept it from looking like a uniform, and Ralph Lauren made tartan sexy for evening. Behnaz Sarafpour managed a nostalgic look with a grown-up flair. Oscar de la Renta’s shift dress is decidedly unfussy: exactly what his well-heeled clients like for lunch at La Goulue.






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