Looking toward the spring and summer markets, West Coast retail buyers are eyeing color, comfort and eco-friendly apparel.
"It's a very vibrant palette for spring," said Tifani Wilt, women's fashion director for Macy's West. "The economy has been down, so it's kind of a way for fashion to turn your attention away from that. Also, color is synonymous with femininity."
Knits, especially in bright oranges, cobalt blues and yellows, are also emerging. For California, in particular, casual and stylish comfort is paramount, with knit pants and cotton tops, boldly patterned dresses and shorts being a focus for many buyers.
They said that the cuts and styles appear to be more eclectic this year.
"It's easier to buy faster trends like more sweaters, Ts, casual dresses, nothing you have to think about too much,'' said John Eshaya, vice president of women's wear at Ron Herman, which operates stores in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Malibu, Calif., South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif., and Las Vegas. "Next season there are going to be more of those pieces."
He added that after last season's high-waisted pants and embellished dresses, the pendulum is swinging back to cool, comfortable California day dressing. "Think cotton, casual, beachy. I think people will be wanting more tops to wear with jeans and cotton bottoms. Blouses are hard to find, but maybe people will cut off the bottoms of their dresses."
Gottschalks, the 60-unit department store chain based in Fresno, Calif., is emphasizing earth-friendly items and sportswear, particularly golf-inspired fashions.
"The green movement is a major deal this spring and summer and it's a huge part of our strategy," said senior vice president Scott Manson. "We're marketing with that in mind and are looking to develop that as a big part of our future as we go into the New York market next week."
Many buyers said they are open to fresh approaches in selecting product.
"This is a clean slate for retailers and it's very exciting," said Fred Levine, owner of Van Nuys, Calif.-based M. Fredric stores. "We are getting creative and having the store stand on its own. We don't have the 30 or 40 denim lines that we did back when it was the only way to establish yourself as an 'It' store, so now we have a wider variety that's better for everyone."While it may not be the primary focus, denim remains a presence.
Jennifer Althouse, denim buyer at American Rag Cie and its World Denim Bar, said she will look for dark, clean washes with clean back pockets, mid- to high rises and a variety of leg openings ranging from a skinny to a flare.
Value is also an important component with consumer spending power squeezed as the stock market declines, housing slumps, fuel prices rise and credit tightens. Los Angeles-area boutique owners said they plan to carry more varied items in general in an effort to compete with larger retailers.
"I am still going to carry all the labels I need to carry, but we are competing with Target and H&M and Zara, so I have to wow [customers] when they come in," said Jaye Hersch, owner of Intuition in West Los Angeles. "I want to be able to be the one-stop shop. I will still always look for the best T-shirt and always have a pair of jeans that they [customers] want."
— With contributions from Marcy Medina and Khanh T.L. Tran
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)