Child’s Play

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The New York Sun

In the last few days, I’ve learned many words for the one-piece outfit: jumper, romper, playsuit, jumpsuit, bloomer suit. The terms summon up images of bouncing toddlers — although during spring fashion week, they are worn instead by 6-foot, rail-thin models.

At Betsey Johnson, in the tent yesterday afternoon, the theme was “babycakes.” There were, in fact, both cakes — pink frosted cupcakes on little glass stands at the front tables — and baby — Ms. Johnson’s granddaughter, an almost shockingly round-cheeked infant whom Ms. Johnson held aloft at the end of the show, before passing her off to let out her own inner child, cartwheeling down the runway.

As for the models, they looked alternately like toddlers, 1950s cheerleaders, and Stepford wives. They had ribbons in their voluminous, curled hair and wore gingham baby doll dresses and ruffled jumpers that looked like little girls’ cooking aprons. They walked, as they had clearly been instructed, with a lot of bounce in their stride — a relief after the strangely inhuman march of the models at Tuleh. At the end they paraded out carrying huge bunches of pink balloons. Childish playfulness (just slightly tweaked: Note the thong in the goodie bag) was the order of the day.

DDCLAB took, by contrast, an attitude that was much harder, urban and slick. Under the theme “shiny pretty thing,” the label showed slim pants and shorts, slinky dresses, and, slightly incongruously, huge Victorian blouses that made their wearers resemble Elizabeth I.

Many nice effects were wrought by twisting fabric, at the hem or in the back.The final look — a black, silk, cocktail dress that bubbled in front and twisted in back into a cascade of ruffle and bow — was pretty, shiny, and fun.

The crew must have run out of tape backstage, because several models had to lift a hand to tug at a drooping strap or a gaping neckline. One long silk dress hung quite blatantly (though I’m not sure intentionally) below the wearer’s breast. Still, there was hardly danger of the audience being overexcited: Her chest was as flat as a child’s.

The New York Sun

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