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PARIS Spring 2004

Tommy seemed to have been on the exactly the same wavelength as Ralph this season- they can both be described as 'Fashion's Cheerleaders' owing to their happy preppy and collegiate vibe, pleated skirts, and clashing colors. He called it 'Palm Beach Meets Rock and Roll": the idea of taking the optimistic, "amazing colors" and patterns from the staid, stodgy Florida resort, and mixing it with a new, young, driving rock and roll beat, in order to give the men's and women's clothing 'attitude'. (Note the almost deafening driving rock and roll beat accompanying the show).

There was the predictable barrage of classic shapes, lots of crisp and fresh white, short flirty dresses, tailored jackets and pantsuits, athletic striped white pants worn with bare tops or polos, spectator sport looks, stripes and island-y prints, and of course, bikinis and swimsuits galore. But as I previously said, a little bit of color goes a long way.

Speaking of preppy, this was perfect timing for the venerable Brooks Brothers to be celebrating their 185th birthday, with a gala thrown about a week before the New York Collections, at their Madison Avenue flagship. And perfect timing for Lacoste (the label behind the preppy polo favored by the famous and not so famous) to have staged their first- ever formal runway show as well as celebrate the opening of their new flagship store on 5th avenue and 49th street.