"There is only resistance to high price when the prices on a relative basis seem out of line," said Gold of Bergdorf's. "With the weakness of the dollar, it has made it incumbent upon us when in market to be very judicious about what we're buying. We ask ourselves, 'If we will buy a $1,500 dress, how will it stack up to other $1,500 dresses, or how will a $5,000 dress stack up to other $5,000 dresses?' The product gets scrutinized to a much greater degree when prices in general are rising."
He cited top sellers this season as "Lanvin, Balenciaga, Manolo Blahnik, Goyard and 3.1 Phillip Lim. In the case of those collections, we are getting extraordinary across-the-board selling."
Gold said the floral trend is a hit with shoppers. "We're a store that embraces femininity, and so whenever there are collections that are colorful or with floral patterns, they tend to do well."
Frank Doroff, vice chairman of Bloomingdale's, said the retailer's designer business is running ahead of last year, and he's not seeing price resistance. "The designer business is holding up well. For February and March, we were single digits ahead of last year," he said.
Stephanie Solomon, vice president and fashion director of Bloomingdale's, added that prints and color are performing well from Donna Karan, Zac Posen, Jean Paul Gaultier, Lisa Perry, Philosophy by Alberta Ferretti and Lela Rose. Other collections doing well include Akris Punto, Moschino and Ralph Lauren Collection. She said dresses and sportswear are strong sellers. Bloomingdale's also is doing well with leather jackets in black and colors and sexy tops.
Michael Fink, vice president and women's fashion director at Saks Fifth Avenue, said that, in spite of the challenging environment, consumers are still shopping. "They might not be buying as they have been, but what they are buying has a real wow factor to it, which includes color and florals," he said. "It often has an over-the-top, one-of-a-kind feeling. When it is novel and doesn't exist in her closet, she is buying it with very little price resistance."
Fink cited Yves Saint Laurent, Oscar de la Renta, Gucci and Roberto Cavalli as among the store's top designer-level collections. At Gucci, he pointed to looks in black-and-white prints with dashes of bright yellow as well as a pink satin cocktail dress as bestsellers. He also highlighted de la Renta's African-print-inspired pieces, especially the beaded ones, and Saint Laurent's sweatshirt jerseys for jackets and dresses.Ann Watson, Henri Bendel's vice president and fashion director, said the specialty store's designer business is already outpacing last spring. Among the top-selling collections are Missoni, Matthew Williamson, Pollini, Sharon Wauchob and Anne Valérie Hash.
"The Bendel's spring point of view was a polished version of boho chic, with Missoni ponchos, printed dresses from Matthew Williamson, jackets from Peter Som, beaded leather vests from Elise Overland, skinny pants from Sharon Wauchob and romantic blouses from Anne Valérie Hash," Watson said. "We went after prints in general and florals were part of the print story, and that is definitely selling for us."
Jeffrey Kalinsky, founder of Jeffrey New York and Jeffrey Atlanta, said overall, his business is running "ahead of plan." Some of the vendors having a strong season are Gucci and Jil Sander.
Linda Mitchell, general merchandise manager of ready-to-wear at Richards, Mitchells and Marshs, in Greenwich, Conn.; Westport, Conn., and Huntington, N.Y., respectively, said, "Our business is good, and I feel very fortunate. I'm very happy with all the color and diversification of product." About three years ago, the stores made a concerted effort to broaden their price points, and have done well with Tory Burch, Theory, Catherine Malandrino, Hanii Y and Diane von Furstenberg (Burch isn't in Richards, due to a boutique located on the same avenue).
Mitchell said her customers, except for corporate women, "are buying more casually, but still want luxe." Among the lines doing well are Michael Kors, Loro Piana and Ralph Lauren. She said business is "up versus a year ago — not greatly, but we feel very good that it's not down." She said corporate women who want to look polished have been buying Brioni and Giorgio Armani.
"Still, the most outstanding items are dresses. Customers are still looking to have great dresses in their wardrobes," said Mitchell, and the stores are doing well with those by Akris, Akris Punto and Agnona.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
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Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews