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September 19, 2000 07:24pm
Bunnies Take the Stage at New York Fashion Week
Source: Reuters
by: Hagar Scher

(NEW YORK, NY) -- If fashion shows carried ratings like movies, then U.S. designer Betsey Johnson's spring 2001 show on Tuesday would have been rated X.

The youthful designer's ``Playboy Bunnies'' spectacle featured centerfold models for the fabled men's magazine strutting down the catwalk in outfits that elicited gasps and giggles from spectators.

The show began with a collection of brightly colored outfits, like a lime mini halter dress and an iced pink sequined body suit complete with matching Bunny ears and tails.

Playful, sexy, and tongue-in-cheek, Johnson divided her collection into months. February's clothes included a hot red bikini with rhinestone hearts and a filmy, neon pink wrap dress reminiscent of movie siren's lingerie.

July featured patriotic get-ups like a red-striped sailor's outfit of short shorts and a tiny tie top. October was about Halloween costumes like a skimpy yellow ``Indian'' number made from fringed suede and a gold-sequined Mermaid tube skirt and top.

Johnson's shows always draw celebrities. This time around, pop music icons Steven Tyler and Cyndi Lauper, real estate tycoon Donald Trump, and actress Lauren Holly sat in the front row gawking at the buxom Playboy bunnies who seemed to enjoy trading in the magazine pages for the runway.

While Johnson's show was over-the-top, designer Nicole Miller's spectacle was decidedly under-whelming.

The collection featured uninspired sportswear staples like jersey tank dresses and trousers-plus-tank tops in lilac, pink, and black, and throwbacks to the 1980s like shirt dresses with large, wide belts and gold chain details.

The prettiest offerings were a metallic blue pair of skinny jeans paired with a shiny leaf print silk shell and flattering, one-piece black pantsuits that would make a chic, simple evening look, and a few bold Art Deco pattern dresses.

Johnson's and Miller's shows followed elite designer Oscar de la Renta's exercise in retro elegance.

De la Renta's line of dramatic, bright dresses and gowns combined sunny colors that evoked a Palm Beach look with the graceful sleek lines for which he is known.

Fabrics ranged from polished orange, pink, turquoise or green striped cotton to nude organza dripping with beadwork and black organza gathered in eye-catching ruche pleating that resembled origami.

Among the most striking looks were a sheer pink top of ostrich feathers, paired with a black silk skirt, a white halter gown with a clear crystal-like collar and a floor-length suit of chartreuse leather cut out to resemble lace.

Like Miller, de la Renta borrowed some 1980s looks. The designer featured the bubble skirt, first in a short pink satin version he called bloomers and then a longer version he called pouf skirts.

Some 100 designers are participating in the nine-day semi-annual Fashion Week that ends on Friday.

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