Living: A Rousing No to Mini-pulation

American women send designers back to the drawing board

The fall fashion collections shown last week in New York City had a reassuring, familiar look: lots of clean-cut classics, long on style, short on thrill. But for a sagging, badly scared industry, that was headline news. What set Seventh Avenue cheering was the skirt that wasn't there: the mini, last year's sexy shocker.

Not since the midi-length fiasco nearly 20 years ago has there been such miscalculation by designers and manufacturers. Perhaps they were bored, spoiling for a chance to make a dramatic statement. Perhaps they misread the trend over the past two or three years to raise hemlines slightly,...

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