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2 DESIGNERS ARE FASHIONABLE CUT ABOVE THE REST

SHARE 2 DESIGNERS ARE FASHIONABLE CUT ABOVE THE REST

It is heartening to find new fashion ideas tucked inside fluorescent-lighted showrooms, especially since so many shows under the slick tents of Bryant Park this season were the fashion equivalent of a karaoke performance at Carnegie Hall.

Heidi Weisel and Sophia Tezel DiGiacomo are two young designers whose dresses are elegant and sporty at the same time. As DiGiacomo said, these dresses could be worn with style with tennis shoes.Weisel was smart enough to focus her line precisely. What has sold to Barneys, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman is a perfect group of gray cashmere dresses, the cashmere mixed with other steely grays: chiffon, velvet, mohair or satin. The lean halter dresses, with the gray cashmere taking on the sporty look of fleece, make modern ballgowns.

DiGiacomo's life has paralleled that of the designer Richard Tyler, like her an Australian who moved to America. Except that Tyler opened his first fashion boutique at 18 and DiGiacomo opened hers in Sydney at 15. Like Tyler, DiGiacomo worked with her clothes-making mother from her youth.

Now into only her second year of designing in New York, she has sold her 1930s-influenced body-hugging dresses to Barneys New York and Macy's. Some have hints of her Greek roots, like a column dress with satiny ropes crossing the back. "My line looks like evening with a sportswear mentality," she said.

Especially a group of Halston-like A-line jersey dresses in eggplant, brown and red. There is also a dress for her polyester queen, a bias-cut shimmery one that she calls liquid stripe. The liquid must be petroleum. "I wouldn't get a cigarette near it," she cautioned.