She's Got Legs: Spring Fashion Introduces the 'Cocktail Short'

Pretty young starlets and women with great legs take note: shorts are back for spring.

The "cocktail short," made of high-sheen fabrics such as satins, taffetas and silks, was part of many collections shown at New York Fashion Week, including Carolina Herrera and Marc Jacobs. Walking shorts and high-waisted short shorts were also hot.

That's great news for panty-shunning stars like Britney, Lindsay and Paris: Shorts will make getting in and out of limos a lot less embarrassing, especially when the paparazzi are watching.

Photo Essay: More Spring Fashions

While it's always hard to think about spring fashion in September, that's how the industry works ... so here's a look at more styles you'll be craving come March.

Dress to Impress

Introducing spring fashion 2008, starring ... the dress!

At New York Fashion Week, the leading lady of all the shows came in one piece.

“When the weather gets warm, my customer grabs for a dress. It’s the easiest thing to put on. It changes your mood and there is the right dress for every girl," said designer Michael Kors.

Designers played it safe with diverse shapes that will please every customer, from classic sleeveless short sheaths to minis to short peasant dresses to '60s-inspired prom dresses to baby dolls to safari-inspired dresses.

Hemlines varied from sky-high lengths to modestly covering the knee. The newest hemline to emerge was about 2 or 3 inches below the knee.

"I hearken it to entertaining in the '50s — it has a chic and glamour to it," said Neiman Marcus senior fashion director Ken Downing, who described this length as the “patio dress."

Some of the best patio dresses came from Diane von Furstenberg, whose frocks had a sizzling '70s hedonism. She showed her iconic pieces such as tunics and wrap dresses that were livened up with fantastic splashes of color and amazing tribal and floral prints.

Michael Kors' longer visions floated down the runway with classy ease through expert draping and couture cutting. The Monet-inspired pink and green number was loosely constructed, with a skinny belt at the waist for controlled volume.

Ralph Lauren expressed his "Patio Dress" moment with a beautiful chiffon dress that glided over the female form and was anchored at the hem with layers of soft ruffles.

What a Waist

The dress' co-stars this season include the high-waisted skirt and pant, and the blouse.

Midriff has gone under cover, and high-waisted trousers and skirts, which were introduced for this fall, picked up steam and came full-force to the foreground.

Designers interpreted this silhouette for every age group. Anna Sui’s girl will be seen wearing a very abbreviated version of the high-waisted skirt in denim with a loose cap sleeve mesh T-shirt, while the Nicole Miller customer will be donning a very sophisticated pencil skirt with bolero jacket.

The high-waisted trouser had a wide leg and was worn with a retro blouse at Tracy Reese.

Blouses were deconstructed and interpreted in non-traditional ways; intricate tailoring and details such as folding, ruching, ruffles and jabots added to the romantic feeling of the moment. Some were gently draped and constructed with a lot of ease, while others were close to the body and had volume at the sleeves.

There were also portrait collars and asymmetrical shapes with short flutter and full cap sleeves. Give your boyfriend or husband back his big white shirt — you won’t be wearing it next spring.

Skirts were all over the map. Whatever you have in your closet now will probably work next spring: the short pouf, bubble, A-line, pencil, dirndl or the circle. Update with one great high-waisted pencil skirt.

Paging Russell Crowe

Shoes had a gladiator feeling, but there were also bootie-like sandals. Clunkiness in the shoe played off the lightness of the clothes, which was the touch that made collections feel modern.

Celebrity Inspiration

So whom should you emulate when shopping for your warm weather wardrobe? Designer Lela Rose's inspiration for her spring collection was the channeling of Katharine Hepburn and Audrey Hepburn.

“Katharine being slightly more mannish, tailored and sporty, while Audrey being more feminine and elegant," she said.

Add the image of Meryl Streep in “Out of Africa“ into the mix and you have the synthesis of all of the 2008 spring fashion trends.

Cheat Sheet: Must-Haves for Spring 2008

A floral chiffon "patio dress"
A high-waisted skirt and pant
Cocktail shorts
A deconstructed blouse
A skinny belt
Something metallic