Perry Ellis, 1983

 

Stiff, wide faille belts were Ellis’s recurring motif for spring, often with big, decorated metal buckles. They circled the waistlines of full skirts that were generally long enough to graze the ankles and of rounded pants that were the basics of the women’s collection. With front and back pleats and a full curve over the hips, the pants looked like a cleaned-up and wearable version of various kinds of baggy styles that have been popular with fashion-oriented women for several years. Now anyone can wear them without looking too tricky.

The skirts as well as the trousers have high-rise waistlines that fit snugly. Along with the belts, they focus irrevocably on the middle, so that anyone who is not naturally endowed with a 19-inch waistline can contemplate exercise, diet or suicide. The fullness of the skirts and pants are, however, kind to hiplines.

Mr. Ellis has his mannequins race down the runway in espadrilles that wrap around the ankle. Hardly does the lacing stop but the skirt begins, providing a kind of luxurious way to dress for daytime.

Tops include myriad sweaters, with or without jewels knitted in, along with flaring short jackets that again call attention to the waistline. Many have shallow scooped necklines and some are strapless. Black sweaters with what looks like white lace collars (they are part of the trompe l’oeil group and are knitted) have an old-fashioned look with wide gray and black striped full skirts.

Another skirt that seems destined to go on many spring outings has what the designer calls ”box pockets.” These are deep pockets set in the sides. As the mannequins whipped around the runway that circled the room, they tended to keep their hands in these pockets, making them stand out like Dutch boy pants. At ease, the pockets flipped over in a peg-top effect. These were shown in short lengths as well as long, enhancing their playful look.

– From FROM ELLIS, A CASUAL WHIMSICALITY, by BERNADINE MORRIS for the NYT October 27, 1982

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