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Ponchos Power Fuels Fall Fashion

(ARA) - When it comes to fashion "must-haves" this season, it's hard to top the poncho. Once dismissed as clothing for hippies, this 70's-inspired design has now swung back into style as a sophisticated -- and diverse -- element of cool weather style.

The poncho's appeal isn't hard to understand: it combines the visual interest of a smart accessory with the warmth of outerwear, in a simple, over-the-head look that's as sexy as it is easy to wear. Though some fashion observers have heralded the poncho as "the new pashmina," it's actually far more versatile than other types of wraps and shawls: it can replace a dressy coat, blazer or jean jacket, and looks great with everything from cuffed jeans to mini-skirts.

The current poncho craze started picking up steam this summer, with a colorful wave of open-weave crochet styles. These lightweight toppers became a common sight everywhere from beaches to nightclubs and on the streets, as well as in fashion spreads and in photos of celebrities like Jessica Simpson, Michelle Branch, Alicia Silverstone, and Kate Moss.

Now for fall and winter, the poncho's popularity is being fueled by fresh interpretations in a broad range of colors, weights and fabrics. Bernardo, a leading outerwear-maker on Seventh Avenue, has created a collection of ponchos that includes everything from patchwork wool to rabbit fur and even suede that can be safely machine-washed. "The poncho can be worn so many different ways and it makes such an individual statement," says Bernardo president Stuart Pollack. "So we decided to offer ponchos to match many different moods and personalities."

Color makes a major statement for this season, as illustrated by Bernardo's suede poncho, a simple split-neck design that comes in 11 different shades -- and also delivers the practical appeal of being safe to machine-wash and -dry at home. For women on the cutting edge of fashion, fur provides another bright option, in a knitted rabbit design featuring such attention-getting tones as kiwi green, lilac and hot pimento. For a more tonal approach, Bernardo features a contemporary take on patchwork, combining cool shades of charcoal and gray in a longer-length poncho bordered by a rich tasseled fringe trim. Besides their trend-right looks, these ponchos also provide a surprisingly affordable fashion option: the suede styles start as low as $99 retail, while the patchwork wool is around $139 and the fur tops out at just $199.

According to fashion experts, the poncho is more than a temporary fashion phenomenon -- because it answers a real need for all kinds of women. "The poncho offers a welcome change from the many body-fitted items that have dominated the fashion news," explains leading trend forecaster David Wolfe of Doneger Creative Services. "It is non-challenging to all figure types and certainly comfortable. The poncho is one of those fashion fads that becomes a real fashion staple with staying power in a woman's wardrobe." To learn more about Bernardo´s ponchos -- and the rest of its collections for Fall/Winter, visit

Article courtesy of ARA Content.


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