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GILDED LADIES: Prada's rumpled gold creations are ultrafeminine and casual without losing the glam factor.


The Shining

By Jessica Fromm

EVEN THE MOST demure fashionistas have turned into metal heads. Show-stopping alloy tones are bubbling up all over this season. Designers have sent shimmery metallics down the summer runways with pewter, copper, bronze, silver, gold and platinum welding their ways into ensembles.

This summer's spin on metallics shies away from the stiff, gaudy, ultrafuturistic looks of the past, in exchange for a softer, slinky luxe application with unique gilded crinkles and argent textures in sexy cuts.

New fabric technology has turned the crunchy, unbreathing metallic fabrics of yore into stretchy jersey and lightweight satin weaves. The crispy, poky metallics of the '80s are being supplanted by the lustrous textiles that are much more comfortable and wearable. Anybody who has seen American Apparel's advertisements this year knows that gold spandex is big right now in the form of leggings and pencil skirts. At the other end of the fashion spectrum, Prada has put crinkly gold lamé dresses center stage this spring.

Though metallics always put the wearer in a spotlight, they are still technically a neutral. This means that they can be paired with almost any color, as long as gold tones stay with warm hues, and silver with cool shades.

Snug, shiny fabric can be both a blessing and a curse. Metallic cloth's body-hugging and light-reflecting qualities add a gleaming splash to garb and show off every curve. They can also cling to bulges and make the wearer look like a foil-wrapped baked potato.

Shoppers looking on upping their sterling count should consider Thakoon and Proenza Schouler's spring 2009 collections, which feature lots of clingy, resplendent cocktail dresses, structured silver shorts and pleated skirts. Rag & Bone's silver silk tailored blazers also bring out the razzle-dazzle, though with a sharper, more office-friendly flair.

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