Originally created 02/21/99

Designers add touch of color to conventional men's wear



NEW YORK -- Monochromatic, military-inspired, techno-utilitarian, athletic wear.

Whatever the look, it isn't the cliched "white shirt and tie."

You won't need to worry about what tie to wear when your suit, tie and shirt are all in the same shade or contrasting shades of black, gray or brown.

Or leave the shirt and tie in the closet and wear a crewneck, polo or turtleneck sweater.

Actor Kevin Bacon modeled a gray one-button pin stripe suit with a black polo sweater at Kenneth Cole's fall/winter 1999 menswear show, which was staged at Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Terminal. The show was the season opener for the semiannual Fashion Week, which ended Friday.

Mr. Cole's fall 1999 collection included denim jeans, jackets and worker suit; silver-quilted bubble jacket with black jeans; and techno-utilitarian touches such as multi-pockets, fabric fasteners and nylon color blocks on elbows and knees.

Joseph Abboud's elegant oatmeal heather tweed hacking suit was worn with a sepia tattersall shirt and tie. The designer's houndstooth check five-button hacking suit was worn with a houndstooth check shirt and matching tie.

Mr. Abboud's collection also included a wool/cashmere officer's jacket worn with a cashmere V-neck sweater and corduroy trousers, and an officer's collar coat with velvet trim.

Ralph Lauren's fall/winter collection includes military-inspired cashmere toggle coats and watch caps; brown jackets and wide-leg trousers inspired by authentic English hunting gear; slim Chesterfield coats with velvet top collars; and cashmere drawstring pants.

If the pulled-together look is too pulled together for you, Mr. Lauren suggests throwing on a white tuxedo shirt and dark Chesterfield coat over dark military-inspired snowboarding pants. You can even add a narrow tie

David Chu for Nautica took skiwear off the slopes and onto the streets. He dressed his models in clothes fit for the coldest weather: enormous parkas in orange and navy nylon, and nylon snowboarding pants and overalls.

Mr. Chu wasn't afraid to mix colors: a green Harris tweed topcoat was paired with a brown wool hooded sweater and charcoal wool drawstring pants. A burgundy Harris tweed topcoat was worn with a green wool crewneck sweater, blue-and-purple striped shirt and navy wool pants.

Denim had its place on the runway with jean jackets and pants with wide, rolled-up cuffs.

Workmen's overalls, ankle-zip pants, military flight suits, cargo pants and bike messenger sweaters and jeans were there, too.

John Bartlett's menswear collection included utility aprons, steelworker's pants, sailor pants, military-inspired padded peacoat, elongated bomber jacket, army CPO shirt; artist's pants, cotton outback duster and wool serape.

Twenty-two-year-old Sandy Dalal dressed his models in a brown wool turtleneck with red tartan wool trousers and brown leather blazer; a brown zip sweater with a navy floral wool jacket and ivory moleskin jeans; and a beige raincoat worn with black embossed velvet jeans with paisley trim.

Last summer, Ron Chereskin rode through the city in a double-decker bus, scooping up male tourists for fashion make-overs.

For his fall/winter collection, he hired actors from three daytime soap operas for informal modeling at his Fifth Avenue showroom.