Feelin' Groovy On 7Th Avenue

Now that men are wearing pigtails again, fashion designers seem to think that anything from the '60s is worth reprising. Brightly colored Pucci-inspired prints are one thing. But manufacturers are even bringing back bell bottorns. Apparently those who wore history are doomed to repeat it.

Landlubber jeans--the same brand that introduced those low-slung, hip-hugging, tepee-legged britches 26 years ago--began appearing in an updated version in department stores around June 15. Like many new trends, the bell-bottom revival didn't start here--it started in England, about a year ago. Called flares, the British-created pants made their way to America on the boas of celebrities like Lisa Bonet and Madonna. Landlubbers, which haven't been made in the United States since 1979, caught the wave and reintroduced them here. The new jeans are more modern in appearance, with a higher waist, and they flare to only about 22 inches.

No one knows for sure what inspired the Pucci revival, but Kalman Ruttenstein, fashion director of Bloomingdale's, gives credit to two Vogue editors. The editors, he says, began wearing Pucci-style leggings to fashion shows and then featured the patterns in the magazine. Although the price of his silk jersey dress has more than tripled (to $700) in the past three decades, Emilio Pucci's shop on East 64th Street in Manhattan is now one of the hottest spots in town. And striking cotton knockoffs are available in department stores for less than $100. Manufacturers like Tapemeasure and Italian Boys are churning out the colorful designs.

But, Ruttenstein notes, nothing ever comes back quite as it was. The new dresses are not the loose-fitting shifts of the '60s--they're body-hugging creations made out of stretch fabrics. The odd Pucci dresses were more popular for their patterns than for their design. The new styles combine op art with a modern silhouette. So that's the summer look--'60s colors, '80s technology, '9Os prices.

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