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Nipon Emphasizes Simplicity for Evening; Michael Katz Shows Painted Prints

April 26, 1985

NEW YORK (AP) _ Luxuriant jet velvet is the common denominator in the evening collections of Albert Nipon, who depends on dramatic solids, and Micheal Katz, whose bold prints demand simple lines.

Both designers, who unveiled their fall collections Thursday, used solid black lavishly to show off their designs and opulent fabrics. Prices for both designers are in the high to astronomical range.

Darts and top-stitched pleats were used by both designers to narrow the silhouette, and skirts were straight and short - at the knee or higher.

Another apparent trend is the return of paisley. Nipon used it traditionally while Katz’ hand painted fabrics merely hinted at the comma- shape in broad brush strokes of vibrant color.

Nipon’s paisley belted jacket with a saucy peplum over a slim straight skirt put a feminine twist on the day suit.

Coats were simple but striking in solid kelly, turquoise, red, or black. Collarless and buttonless, the waists were cinched with wide leather belts.

One especially nice group of separates mixed a two-tone, winter white and bone floral cardigan with bone trousers and white silk T-shirt.

The tartan plaids, neutral tweeds, florals and Amadeus-inspired tapestries were nice when shown alone, as in prim, silk dresses, or with solid separates, such as traditional pleated skirts and blazers.

But when the combination ran to a red and navy windowpane check sweater with huge, hot pink rose appliques at the elbows paired with a green and brown plaid straight skirt, the result was garish and eye-aching.

Evening wear, however, was Nipon’s forte.

In the little black dress category, the collection offered several numbers with big hip bows, shirring, flounces and metallic accents. Note: velvet pillbox hats have returned.

And for those gala evenings, nothing beats brilliant ruby, emerald and sapphire satin or taffeta paired with black velvet. Unless it is basic black.

One black velvet sheath was encircled with black taffeta ribbons woven through slits and tied in bows at either side; simple and very new.

Katz’ one-of-a-kind collection, shown in his loft studio, concentrates on evening. Some of his glamourous designs have been worn on television by actress Alexis Smith, who was in the audience.

A simple, dropped shoulder jacket, no buttons, no pockets, no trim, cropped at the waist rides over slim pants. Nothing special except the fabric - mustard silk splattered with rust and streaked with evergreen. A solid mustard tank top underneath and a jeweled belt. Like perfume, you had to get close to appreciate its subtlety.

Not every print worked as well. A rust coatdress was embellished with a single huge paisley shape with hot pink at the center, rimmed by purple, green and purple. The motif reappeared randomly and the result was splotchy.

But taste in prints is so personal. Subtle or dramatic, dainty or bold, geometric or floral, everyone has a favorite and Katz had ample variety.

One outfit mixed prints successfully - an oversized block quilted evening jacket with black satin collar and cuffs was paired with narrow satin stirrup pants. Each patch was a different print or solid.

Dolman sleeves, fitted torsos and wide shoulders were a common thread in Katz dresses long and short. And he used a wide variety of shapes including, tunics, shawl collars, blousons and double breasted.

While Nipon is among the most established of American haute couture designers, Katz is a rising star.

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