Strong Suits

Designers bring back sharp shoulders to pad sagging sales figures

Catwalking

There was a comical moment in the front row at a recent runway show in Paris when two magazine editors in sharply tailored jackets had to pivot awkwardly in their seats to make room for their linebacker shoulder pads. Not since Tess McGill suited up to outwit her boss in Working Girl in 1988 have big shoulders played such a prominent role in fashion. For fall, designers like Michael Kors, Donna Karan and Stefano Pilati of Yves Saint Laurent showed structured jackets, enlisting the signature '80s power tool to try to give shaky consumers some self-assurance--and, they hope, a reason to...

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