NEW YORK — For the first half of Kimora Lee Simmons’ fashion show, it looked like her banker-type male models would have no dates they could bring home to their mothers.
The Friday night New York fashion Week preview of her Baby Phat collection put women in cropped jackets worn with tiny shorts and shiny leggings underneath. The female version of the three-piece suit was low-rise knickers with a belly-baring top and jacket and a woman’s “tuxedo” was a ruffle-front blouse with tight overalls in a shiny black fabric.
Meanwhile, the men were all dressed up in classic suits, tuxes or casual outfits consisting of cardigan sweaters and tailored jeans.
Eventually Simmons started sending out her more expensive KLS Collection, which had references to the 1920s and ’30s, and seemed a better match on the runway at Roseland Ballroom for a crowd that included Tyra Banks, Vivica Fox, the designer’s ex-husband Russell Simmons and current companion Djimon Hounsou.
One particularly nice dress had a red V-neck top that blousoned at the waist with a form-fitting bottom and a sexy — yet sophisticated — cowl back. Another gown, with a cowl neck and jeweled waist, was a look you could envision Simmons herself wearing.
Actually, it was the Baby Phat menswear that steered away from the norm. Usually both the men’s and womenswear are geared toward trendy, young customers and rooted in urban style. Maybe, 10 years into the fashion business, Simmons sees her fans growing up a bit.