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Fashion versus fad? Chic staying power.

Good fashion and design lasts for at least a decade. Fads come and go quickly and generally last only a season. If you've got to choose between those hot pants that are being shown this spring, the ones you haven't worn in years, or the classic little black dress, it's no contest: a classic black dress, designed by Oscar De La Renta, wins hands down. Price does not dictate fad or fashion.

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It takes a smart shopper to zero in on what you can wear for years and years. A chic Chanel suit--or, if your budget dictates, a sharp knock-off--is fit for both cocktail parties and important lunches. Make too much of a statement, however, and you will have to limit your wearing frequency.

The idea is to invest in fashion and, if you must, buy only one fad piece a year. This year's accessory fad is the oversized handbag festooned with buckles and flashy metal. The classic, however, is the Kelly bag and any copy of it.

The big-bag exception is the Louis Vuitton designed by Murakami. Vuitton's commitment to quality is unparalleled. Any purse that comes from the factory and fails to meet LV's impeccable standards is destroyed. That's part of what makes a Vuitton purchase a true fashion investment. Stow the priceless Murakami bag in the back of your closet and see what it's worth a decade later. You'll still be on the cutting edge of fashion, and you might be able to sell the bag for more than what you paid.

Many design houses have dabbled in both fad and the timeless over the years. Chanel's 1940s/1950s designs were the epitome of classic designs. By the 1980s, as women were once again eyeing pea coats and bell-bottoms, the House of Chanel turned its attention to fads--and today, Chanel's designs are more in line with fads than fashion.

Michael Kors made a name for himself with his classic, luxurious clothing styles, mostly adapted and inspired by unforgettable 1930s and 1940s films. Then, last season, he presented the schoolgirl's plaid pleated skirt--pure fad.

a la MODE

For an example of fad-defying fashion, take a good, long look at Bill Blass' 2001 fall collection on this page. Seven years later, these classics still radiate style. If your closet is home to some of the chicest and classiest fashions to hit the runways in years, you understand the difference. Fads may turn a few heads, but a classic will weather the whims of the season. The true fashion statement is a declaration for the ages.

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BILL BLASS'

2001 FALL COLLECTION

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OSCAR DE LA RENTA DRESS--FASHION

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LOUIS VUITTON MURAKAMI--FASHION KEEP THIS IN THE BACK OF YOUR CLOSET AND SELL IT ON EBAY 10 YEARS FROM TODAY

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BALENCIAGA BAG--FAD

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PLEATED PLAID SKIRT--FAD

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Title Annotation:a la mode
Author:Fiandaca, Alfred
Publication:Celeb Life Magazine
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2008
Words:475
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