After a year of huge clothing and disappointing sales, designers delivered what retailers were seeking…wearable (sellable) clothing.
houses returned to sharply tailored suits, pencil shirts and glamorous,
body-clinging dresses as an antidote to the prevailing bohemian
influences seen in recent collections. "What looks new in New York when
ubiquitous cropped jackets, deflated volume skirts, shiny black tights
and black patent pumps are available at every price point. Dressing
up!" said Michael Fink, Saks Fifth Avenue’s vice president and women’s
The styles were a relief to retailers, who
used words such as "ladylike," "refinement," "simplicity" and
"straightforward" to describe a rich but not ostentatious sensibility.
"Last season was more intellectually challenging," said Netaporter.com
founder Nathalie Massenet.
It’s silver for spring, and all metallics for fall with liquid-gold treatments and mixed
metallic looks such
as gold, platinum and copper, often combined with black for a dramatic
effect being a major trend. Fashion
directors hailed the evolution of the covered leg, clad in opaque
tights and tights with metallic sheen.
According to WWD here’s what buyers had to say on the New York collections:
Jennifer Wheeler, vice president of women’s designer apparel at Nordstrom:
"Proenza Schouler’s was their best collection ever, Francisco Costa for
Calvin Klein was so gorgeous, also Marc Jacobs and Oscar de la Renta. The Michael Kors
customer is going to love what he did. The
season is much more sophisticated and has a simple refinement to it.
It’s cleaner, very straightforward but with a romance in all the
Top trends: "Sleeveless or short-sleeved
dresses layered over tops, cozy cardigan coats — the reason they looked
so good was because it was so darn cold— hosiery, metallics mixed with
black and footwear with chunkier heels and lace-up details."
Julie Gilhart, senior vice president and fashion director of Barneys New York:
"Isabel Toledo’s collection for Anne Klein was a great debut. Rodarte
was brilliantly imaginative. Narciso Rodriguez and Proenza Schouler
looked very strong. Both Doo.Ri and Thakoon have come into their own,
and 3.1 Phillip Lim, too.
Top trends: "I loved all
the new knitwear, from oversized cardigans to sweater dresses. The
longer, leaner silhouette balanced with fuller cocoon shapes is
superchic. You can really feel the influence of the upcoming Costume
Institute’s exhibit on Poiret in the air."
Michael Fink, vice president and women’s fashion director, Saks Fifth Avenue:
"Highlights include Marc
Jacobs, Michael Kors, clean-line
tailoring and va-voom dresses at Zac Posen, the oddly hypnotic
onion-dome hems at Vera Wang, any black dress at Ralph Lauren and the
coolest, geekiest girls at Chris Benz."
"Dramatically shaped jackets and coats with lantern sleeves, rounded
shoulders or voluminous backs paired with slimmer pants, pencil skirts
or body-conscious dresses. Burnished gold and copper metallic accents
for daytime. Also, chunky, clunky stitch knits ranging
in shape from bolero-like peacoats to ankle-grazing cardigan coats.
Feminine pleating and smocking details and feather trims, which add
just the right amount of tongue-in-cheek chic to an overly serious
palette of black, gray and chocolate. Pumps and the bootie-pump are the
only shoes to own."
Linda Fargo, senior vice president, fashion office and store presentation, Bergdorf Goodman:
Favorite shows: "Marc Jacobs, Oscar de la Renta, Thakoon, Proenza Schouler, Narciso Rodriguez, Calvin Klein and Donna Karan."
"A leaner, longer narrow silhouette, men’s wear, knit dressing, shine, and fur.
Ann Watson, vice president and fashion director at Henri Bendel:
Favorite shows: "Jovovich-Hawk, Josh Goot, Alexander Wang, Doo.Ri, Rag & Bone and Chaiken."
Top trends: "We’re excited about the opaque leg, moving away from the legging and into tights."
New discoveries: Chris Benz
Ken Downing, senior vice president and fashion director, Neiman Marcus:
"Marc Jacobs, Proenza
Schouler for a polished look and just a hint of Art Deco; Oscar de la
Renta for a superchic, superluxe collection; Phillip Lim, for a
contemporary point of view, and Doo.Ri, for her use of jersey and her
Top Trends: "A return to more of a
polished look, the introduction of the modern suit. We were pleased
with the continuation of metallics. The dress continues to be very
strong; it’s looking newest as a dress and coat combo. The sequin is
the embellishment of the season as well as feathers and fur trim."
Nathalie Massenet, founder, Net-a-Porter.com:
Favorite shows: "Marc
Jacobs, Michael Kors, Proenza Schouler and Narciso Rodriguez’s
supercool and sharp collection. Oscar de la Renta was beautiful. We
loved Luella Bartley for the juxtaposition of party dresses with riding
boots, and Matthew Williamson for his use of color. Also, Marchesa and
Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti."
Top trends: "We’re loving the return to chic and pretty and elegant."
Photos: Getty Images