To be sure, remnants of the ’60s flower children have resurfaced before. Fashion frequently dabbles in the flared trousers, tie-dye shirts and miniskirts of that decade. But in this incarnation, the clothes don’t look quite so retro or stoked in sweet nostalgia. Instead, they represent a new, more informed expression of ’60s style. They are pretty, but they also have a sharp edge, like a prom queen all grown up and knocked around by life.

Designer Tom Ford of Gucci says that much of the inspiration for his Las Vegas hippie look grew out of his search for the antithesis to the minimalism and restraint that have dominated fashion for several seasons. He puts fuchsia sequin roses on a vintage denim skirt and uses feathers to decorate the cuff of a pair of faded jeans. In this period of the absurd � What is the meaning of ‘is’? Larry Flynt races to the president’s rescue? � Ford’s grasping for a way to rid the runway of chic knee-length skirts, gray trouser suits and twin sets seems appropriate. Customers, he believes, are ready for color and over-the-top style.

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