Fashion: Nothing, Something, Everything

High-style setters speak a language that has all the complexity of diplomatese or engineering. In fashion salons they can rattle off a demand for an "important dress-it-up-or-dress-it-down basic black or solid mix-and-match that can be accessorized." But in the past year, even the most eloquent fashion arbiters have seemed strangely inarticulate as they asked their designers to whip up ''something simple, a little nothing, really.'' The term stuck like a Zipper. Last week, as the first of the new fall wholesale collections were previewed in the Manhattan showrooms, the "little nothing''...

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