Young, sparky, superbly made, and delivered on time. That's German fashion - and in particular new German sunshine holiday fashion.
The giant Igedo Fair at Dusseldorf recently offered first sight of ideas for spring. But for shops with a sunshine-Christmas clientele, the manufacturers offered delivery in early December.
So what might you be wearing on a Florida beach or a Nile cruise?
Color again - and what a relief after last year's avalanche of whites. The German designers have embraced egg yolk yellow, bright grass green, turquoise, and hot pinks. For subtler tastes they show mixtures of white and taupe with black. The mixtures are stunning in pure linen separates, such as safari jackets with Bermudas plus a sweater patterned in stars and stripes (a salute to the Olympic hosts?) to pull it together.
Deep, vibrant color looks rich and timeless in the many Madras plaids. These are scissored, in the inevitable linen, into full trousers with that slightly blouse in the same colors, in a toned-down small check, with a jacket in a solid color.
Batik prints are an alternative to these plaids and are beautifully used at Laurel in a quiet mixture of ice blue, cocoa, and white. The cotton prints show up as collarless blouses and jackets; along with taupe skirts and trousers and plain ice-blue cotton knit tops, they make outfits just as suitable for lunch in Cairo as for a stroll down a Caribbean boardwalk.
Bermudas are full and easy, but newer at the German fair were boxer shorts - perhaps designers everywhere have taken a leaf from Calvin Klein's underwear designs?
Lace is the strong fabric for the very young holidaymaker. We've had it for summer 1984 in the form of insets in T-shirts - now at Mondi it's in whirling ballerina skirts (lined) to match those lace-trimmed tops. All in the cool ice blue that will take the outfit from day to nighttime partying.
Scribble prints - those wild streaks of graffiti on a white background - are one theme that links the lively young fashion of Germany with its cool and elegant expensive group. Laurel uses them for cotton tops and full dirndl skirts , while the new, young, talked-about designer of Berlin, Reimer Claussen, uses them for beautiful dolman-sleeved silk blouses to team with his white linen or fine navy gabardine suits. The streaks and scribbles made the stripes round the fair look old hat.
In line with most European fashion, Germany likes long skirts for warm weather. Many are dirndl, many circular, but sharp sophistication comes in the camisole-topped long linen tube dresses (bright green, sometimes with a suede applique) and in navy chemise dresses of gabardine perfect for a London shopping day.
Piping and applique in leather are a German trademark and make their appearance on cottons, linens, and knits. New features included appliqued leaves made of cork and stunning art deco shapes in jewelry all of cork. Copper is nudging gold and silver aside as the new ''in'' metal for costume jewelry, and everywhere in the jewelry hall (there were six huge halls at this fair) huge glass stones twinkled in their settings.
German holiday wear is vigorously challenging the French and Italian offerings. Since much of it is made in East European factories with strict supervision, it has a better chance of prompt delivery and strike-free manufacturing. Several German firms were happy to report greatly increased sales to the United States during the past year. As it is, you can scarcely enter a London store without buying something in German fashion.