Milan Fashion Week Rundown. Milan Leaves Buyers Wondering if Sex Will Sell. Second City Style Fashion Blog

October 2, 2006 • Fashion

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Milan Wrap-Up
From WWD 10-2-06

Many retailers considered the Milan spring season a disappointing one,
where runway dazzle and excess overshadowed wearability.  Still, retailers said they were reassured to find this
city’s mainstay of beautifully crafted, commercially viable clothes and
accessories in the showroom, proving catwalk antics don’t necessarily
affect the order books.

“The runways have been lacking in
relevant day clothes for today’s women living real lives,” said Michael
Fink, vice president and women’s fashion director at Saks Fifth Avenue.
“Thankfully, we have found these clothes in showrooms and presentations
that do not require spectacle to make a statement.”

Other buyers
were more upbeat about Milan’s approach to spring. “I think Milan
is charged with youthful energy,” said Stephanie Solomon, vice
president and fashion director of women’s ready-to-wear and accessories
at Bloomingdale’s. “In one week, fashion has brought back color, shine
and uncomplicated sexiness.” Short dresses, miniskirts and metallic and
patent accessories were cited as key directions for spring and summer
while the most widely praised collections included Marni, Giorgio
Armani, Burberry Prorsum, Jil Sander and newcomer 6267

Here, a rundown of what some buyers had to say about the divisive season:

Ken Downing, fashion director, Neiman Marcus, Dallas:
“The dress is continuing as one of the most important
categories for spring, and there were terrific optionsin Milan: floating
styles that moved away from the body — trapeze, Empire and shift
shapes. The Eighties and Mod Sixties are giving the dress more of an
edge. Romanticism and femininity continued as well.”

noted patent trim, cropped jackets and clear handbags were important
elements, along with silver and colors like yellows and blues. His
standout collections included Marni, Jil Sander, Giorgio Armani, Prada
and 6267.

Jennifer Wheeler, vice president of designer apparel, Nordstrom, Seattle:
“The overall message was a blend of the Sixties and Eighties
references. Clearly, the bare leg is important. After such a dark fall
season, spring is really feeling a lot more optimistic. Silver and shine will be very
important, also patent leather trim on clothing, handbags and shoes. It
was also really more about shape and silhouette than prints. Sleeve
interest continues, [as well as] softer bubble shapes, and new items
include city shorts, knee leggings and item skirts, with rolled hems,
the mini or ones pieced together. Obviously, the dress will be the key
item of the season.”

Marni, Jil Sander, Burberry Prorsum and Versace were among her favorite collections.

Linda Fargo, senior vice president, fashion office and store presentation, Bergdorf Goodman:
“Like New York, dresses remain predominant in a full range of
silhouettes, including Empire-waisted, drop-waisted, trapeze, tunic and
the baby doll. Short, shorter, shortest ruled the week! If we could
sell long, slim, bare legs as accessories, we would be rich.”

said key looks and trends included puffy, short sleeves; cropped soft
jackets; metallics; sequins, and paillettes. Her favorite shows were
Marni, Giorgio Armani, Prada, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi and Jil

Julie Gilhart, senior vice president and fashion director, Barneys New York:
“What’s going to drive business here is the dress,” said Gilhart. “I liked the short length that can be worn as a dress or
a tunic.” Gilhart said standout collections included Jil Sander,
Bottega Veneta and Prada. She also praised Fendi’s accessories, but
bemoaned a dearth of new designer names.

Michael Fink, vice president and women’s fashion director, Saks Fifth Avenue:
“Milan may be going through a midlife crisis evidenced by its pazza
fascination with the Sixties and Eighties and sci-fi, futuristic
dressing. Dresses continue, with volume a little more deflated in
Milan. The color silver is predominant, especially in accessories. I
love the vibrant reds and purples that popped up at Prada and Gucci.
Mini lengths cannot be ignored, but micromini? That’s tough.”

highlights included Prada, Marni, Gucci and Jil Sander, whose “perfect
clothes could have walked right off the street. What use of color!”

Jeffrey Kalinsky, president and chief executive officer, Jeffrey New York, and director, designer merchandising, Nordstrom:
“I do a tremendous amount of commerce in Milan and that never really
changes. The people I depend upon all really delivered, I felt. I
thought that the Jil Sander collection was a breath of fresh air. It
was everything I love about spring: clean, light and fresh. I love the
color. It had all of those elements. Every season, I think I can’t love
[Bottega Veneta] any more, and then I do. The same goes for Burberry
Prorsum. I thought that Prada was very beautiful. I am a Marni fanatic.
I thought Consuelo [Castiglioni] did a great job reinventing the
collection to continue to make it interesting for the Marni customer.”

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