Classics Get Update at Fashion Week

The first thing women might want to put on their shopping list for fall is a pair of long leather gloves. They've emerged at New York Fashion Week as a surefire trend.

And they're practical, too, because many of the coats and sweaters on the runway have only 3/4-length sleeves.

Luca Luca: Dresses dominated this runway Tuesday, especially black cocktail frocks. But the new little black dress doesn't hug curves, it glides over them. Luca Orlandi's best version was a strapless one with a tight bodice, dropped waist and full bottom, with tulle peeking out from the bottom.

Another great dress featured a bodice made of tulle roses and a ballerina skirt.

Shirtdresses were made fancier with either a ruffled or beaded front, and one had fur cuffs.

The question is, whose calendar is filled with so many occasions that call for semiformal dresses?

For everyday, Orlandi favored a sleek shape, offering a sheath dress in a traditional plaid -- which editors, stylists and retailers have been seeing a lot of this week -- and a simple, polished gray wool jersey dress.

Charles Nolan: Several nods to the 1980s have made their way to the Fashion Week catwalks -- shirred sleeves, booties and power suits, among them -- but Nolan's black leggings, worn under almost every skirt and dress, was the most obvious reference.

Know what? They didn't look bad, especially when worn with the flat slingback or kitten-heel riding boots the models were wearing.

The super-slim cigarette pants worn under a luxe brown kidskin double-breasted coat had a similar effect.

Instead of the bow blouse, which has become ubiquitous, Nolan added ascots to his crisp white cotton shirts.

Tight turtleneck dresses also have been frequent fliers on the runway, and Nolan did above-average versions. A light green satin dance dress with a fitted bodice and bows on the shoulders was a pleasant diversion from the otherwise dark palette.

Bill Blass: Michael Vollbracht shed both the legend and the curse of the Bill Blass brand and finally turned out a collection Tuesday that took advantage of his strengths: timeless and classic suits, coats and eveningwear.

Since taking over design duties at the fashion house more than two years ago, it seemed like Vollbracht, a personal friend of Blass, first tried to mimic the late designer's style. That prompted criticism that the clothes were too old and dowdy for today's woman. He then turned to girlie looks that were out of character for the label.

This go-around, though, he struck the right balance.

Casual cardigans were thrown over the shoulders of models wearing sophisticated evening looks -- a black ballskirt with embroidered ivory-colored roses paired with a white tuxedo shirt was particularly nice -- acknowledging the way real women dress, mixing up dressy and casual pieces.

Other noteworthy evening outfits included a brown tulle gown with a strapless draped top and full hand-woven skirt, and a backless red silk chiffon halter evening gown. Hopefully, though, when that gown turns up on a Hollywood star, it'll be without the thick black belt.

Monique Lhuillier: Lhuillier's days as a bridal gown designer pay off whenever she goes near lace and tulle, and the red-carpet gowns she previewed were delicate, feminine and pretty. She alternated shapes between slim seamed sheaths and tufted ballgowns.

But the starlets who wear these dresses need to ward off autumn's chill, and Lhuillier offered them fur capelets, brocade coats and, for daytime, a salt-and-pepper brocade peacoat.

Lhuillier used a beautiful peacock blue jacquard fabric for a corseted cocktail dress and matching bolero.

The Los Angeles-based Lhuillier took her bow just weeks after having her first baby. She said the collection was strongly influenced by the furniture fabrics and wallpapers she studied when she was in her "nesting" phase.