Fashion: Made in The Shade

Fade in: ombré (meaning "shaded") is washing over the fashion world. A close cousin of tie-dye, the process involves dip-dyeing fabrics so that single or multiple hues bleed into each other, usually gradating from light to dark. Prada's striking swim trunks blend from white to blue ($295; A billowy short-

sleeved dress by L.A.-based Japanese designer Tadashi Shoji runs from pale sea-foam green on top to bold aquamarine on bottom, conjuring images of the Caribbean ($1,110; Wunderkind Thakoon makes a raspberry ombré peacoat ($1,650; And Shanghai Tang takes prints resembling henna tattoos and overlays them on a black and caramel jacquard coat ($915;

Designers are beginning to experiment with the direction of the gradations. Rather than shade top to bottom, up-and-comer Christian Cota makes one diaphanous shell nearly black on one side, elephant gray in the middle and mocha on the other end ($810; A knee-length dress by Cynthia Rowley is colored vertically in yellow, dusty rose and orange stripes to create a watercolor effect ($385;

The trend extends beyond clothing. Red, yellow and green blend together in the bangle by Miami-based purveyor Hidalgo ($2,980; And round Capiz-shell place mats by Kim Seybert come in black, orange, green or blue ombré ($65; It will be a while before this look fades to black.