Originally created 09/13/03

Kenneth Cole opens New York Fashion Week

NEW YORK -- Jay Gatsby was in the front row at Kenneth Cole's fashion show Friday, the opening of New York Fashion Week.

Robert Redford, who starred in 1974's "The Great Gatsby," based on the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, met Cole backstage before the presentation of the designer's spring 2004 collection.

Edie Falco and Stanley Tucci were also at the Bryant Park tents in midtown Manhattan for Cole's show. The spring preview for retail buyers and editors will run through Sept. 19 at the fashion tents and other venues.

This is the 10th anniversary of Fashion Week, and Fern Mallis, executive director of 7th on Sixth, which organizes the shows, said that "in 10 years, we have surpassed our own expectations."

"With well over 20 seasons and hundreds of shows behind us, I am proud to say we're still here, still thriving and better than ever," she said in a statement.

A collection by Jennifer Nicholson, Jack Nicholson's daughter, will be featured on the runway Saturday night, as will Russell and Kimora Lee Simmons' line, Baby Phat.

Cole's collection featured Bermuda shorts and polo shirts for men and women that would have been appropriate in Gatsby's privileged world.

However, his supershort versions of normally demure shirtdresses probably wouldn't meet the dress code at some country clubs, and one male model wore a classic single-breasted tuxedo jacket with black board shorts.

The predominant colors on Cole's runway were black and white, and various shades of gray and khaki. There were touches of silver, especially the chain straps on some of the otherwise classic summer cocktail dresses.

Also Friday, Patrick Robinson showed his debut collection for Perry Ellis, which included a ladylike bow blouse, below-the-knee shorts and flouncy satin tank tops. "The words I used to my team (in creating the collection) were 'chic' and 'charming,"' Robinson told The Associated Press.

"It's a happy and optimistic collection. ... The colors have springtime names like lilac, pistachio, lavender and magnolia."

Other designers on the eight-day schedule include Narciso Rodriguez, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger and Vivienne Tam.

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