Canada: 'the classics are back'

The Canadian fashion mood for fall is one of reality. "Designers have settled down to producing realistic clothes," says Pamela Eves-Chesbro, fashion coordinator for the fashion boutiques in Eaton Centre. "They realize that with rising prices, discrimination is essential for their fashion dollars."

Even the young aren't going overboard for styles which outdate themselves in a few months. "This fall the emphasis is definitely more on fashion than on style," Mrs. EvesChesbro says. "The classics are back."

Colors are also classic, ladylike, and generally subdued. The Fashion Designers Association of Canada "is absolutely hooked on black and gray," says Mary Stephenson, the group's executive director. "Strong colors are used mostly as fin-ins."

Fall's wearable and functional clothes are also feminine. Tailored classic suits are softened with pleats and with elegant touches such as velvet collars on tweed. For those who must have color, there are a lot of beautiful plaids combining bright colors.

Coats, too, sport velvet collars, and nubby cloth is a favorite. The classic wrap style is back, with gray or burgundy the favorite colors. Leo Chevalier of Montreal featured a flowing handsome one in gray tweed.

The energy crisis has produced down-filled lightweight coats, and Canadians have welcomed them enthusiastically. They're ideally practical for the cold climate, and in spite of their generally sporty look, they are finding their way into general use.

Knitwear is strong again this fall in everything from mohair to cashmere, with lots of detail in various types of stitches. Mohair is even appearing again in the coat category as evinced by a straight burgundy style by Michael robichaud, one of Montreal's most elegant designers.

Dresses have a marked division between daytime and evening. The casula look is disappearing except in sportswear. Feminity and softness are everywhere with demure white collars and cuffs on black daytime dresses and elegant Victorian lace collars for after dark.

While the dress silhouette shows off the waistline, some canadian designers have re-introduced a refined chemise look. Wayne Clark, one of Canada's fastest rising young designers, has even introduced a group of "tea dresses" in chiffon georgette. And by the holiday season, long dresses are expected to return from their short banishment of the last couple of years.

Pants are still popular. A number of designers are even bringing them back for evening, narrowing them at the ankle.

It looks as if the exaggerated high and slender heeled shoes are out. The classic opera pump is back for daytime as well as patent leather, and "the leg is liberated from the boot," says Mrs. Eves-Chesbro. However, when the temperature drops below zero, Canadians are likely to look kindly on boots and forget the new mood.

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