Retailers Key In on Most Bankable Season

Bold colors, fun prints and scuba influences are just a few of the predicted retail hits for resort 2012.

Barbara Atkin, vice president, fashion direction at Holt Renfrew: “Resort used to be such an insignificant season that spoke to a small group of customers who were going away. Today, it’s the largest part of our spring business — almost 80 percent of our budgets go into that delivery. Alexander Wang’s athletic influences and T-shirts worked so well; we liked the photo and postcard prints at Stella McCartney, the new soft trench from Diane von Furstenberg and Chanel, and the new spring cape at Marc by Marc Jacobs and Zero + Maria Cornejo. We also loved Celine’s button-front shirts and pencil skirts, Givenchy’s activewear references and Donna Karan’s scuba-look pieces, and Phillip Lim brought out a new silhouette for new, loose pants.”

This story first appeared in the June 29, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Ken Downing, Neiman Marcus senior vice president and fashion director: “Coming out of a challenged economy, designers have given great thought to what women want to wear. The clothes are ladylike, closer to the body and designers are really embracing color. Colored pants are everywhere in the market and everyone is doing a trench with trim. Feminine blouses with ruffles and lace are a continuation of dressed-up looks, and I liked the gymnasium sensibility.”

Stephanie Solomon, Bloomingdale’s vice president of fashion direction: “This was the best resort season I have seen in years. Prices were slightly up, but I see no price resistance — the looks warrant the prices. There’s been an explosion of color, and I’m not just talking citrus or Crayola brights. I’m talking neon brights, the likes of which we haven’t seen since 1984, when Stephen Sprouse was on the scene. There’s also a big print revival. What I love most is the changing of the status quo — the colors and prints on bottoms.”

Linda Fargo, senior vice president, fashion office and store presentation, Bergdorf Goodman: “The biggest news is exuberant color, the hotter the better. Trends that also ratchet up the happy factor include maritime, athletic and scuba, and great prints, especially abstracted Hawaiian florals, stripes, artistic and zebra. We liked softened, fuller volumes and new maxis. We’re excited about the prints at Givenchy and Stella McCartney, Michael Kors’ hot pink maxi dress, bright colors at Diane von Furstenberg, Naeem Khan’s embroidery, Proenza Schouler’s color blocking, Thakoon Addition and Derek Lam’s 10 Crosby.”

Miriam Lahage, general manager of fashion, eBay: “Primary colors ruled: lots of red, white, black and true blue. There was also a techno fabric/scuba-ish moment: Michael Kors, Alexander Wang and Balenciaga.…That trend has already hit eBay Fashion — we’ve seen so many searches for the scuba, body-con silhouette.”

Joseph Boitano, Saks Fifth Avenue group senior vice president and general merchandise manager: “Resort was a really terrific season. Designers really considered what the customer is looking for: feminine, flirty cocktail dresses and separates. They tried to understand how people dress at that time of year — in casual clothes that evoke a lifestyle with fun, emotional pieces.”

Jeffrey Kalinsky, executive vice president, designer merchandising, for Nordstrom: “Standout collections for me were Lanvin for gorgeous color, new silhouettes and exciting prints; Celine delivered a chic, modern approach to dressing, and there was a lot of newness at Valentino. We’ve been responding to prints, colorblocking and bohemian influences. The designers new to resort that had especially strong collections were Sophie Theallet, Joseph Altuzarra, Erdem and Vionnet.”


Sarah Rutson, Lane Crawford fashion director: “We love the sense of what we are calling ‘sports/athletic couture’, which is an element of mixing sports, athletic and scuba influences, with smarter and more formal silhouettes or fabrications. This is a juxtaposition that is working very well and running through many collections from 3.1 Phillip Lim, Alexander Wang, Balenciaga and Diane von Furstenberg.  Colour blocking is still the key, which comes along with sharp pops of neon colours. Bold floral prints are everywhere and is a very prevalent trend running through most collections. We loved Céline’s floral prints along with Givenchy and Stella McCartney’s Hawaiian prints, while animal prints and an animal ‘motif’ are still going strong in the resort season and we see continuation in coming seasons.”


Beth Buccini and Sarah Easley, co-owners, Kirna Zabête: “Our favorite looks were the luxe Bohemian long floral dresses, silk day shorts and jumpsuits. We also loved Balenciaga’s beautiful full skirts, Celine’s incredible florals, Lanvin’s beautiful Madame Grès-style dresses and St.-Tropez-ready swimwear, Stella McCartney’s Hawaiian prints and Proenza Schouler’s groovy patchwork dresses. Giambattista Valli had one of the best collections, with showstopping dresses and insane combinations of ostrich feathers, leopard prints, beading and citrine chiffon. So many designers showed strong, directional collections that it felt like runway.”

Nevena Borissova, founder, Curve: “I wasn’t blown away by anything, honestly. I wanted a fun and easy feeling after so much tailored clothing. I bought flowy, long and neon colors, all of which have been absent from our store for a quite a while. I loved Christopher Kane and Isabel Marant, who so refreshingly went back to classic Isabel and delivered ridiculously comfy, wearable and ethnically-infused pieces. Balmain looked great, and Shakuhachi and Zimmerman are new names that delivered great and saleable collections.”

Amanda Brooks, fashion director, Barneys New York: “It was exciting to see a new and more decorative direction from Celine; bright colors at Alexander Wang; Lanvin’s classic, beautifully executed collection; Proenza Schouler’s directional and wearable clothes; a strong collection from newcomer Pedro Lourenço, and resort first-timers Prabal Gurung, Joseph Altuzarra and Giulietta. The best trends included blocking; feminine details and silhouettes such as ruffles, corseting and body-conscious shapes; florals and prints, especially on pants, and colorblocking for accessories from Bottega Veneta, Proenza Schouler, Givenchy, Celine and Balenciaga. Resort addresses trends in a more commercial way and is becoming more directional while remaining wearable. Consumers expect to see newness year-round. Resort gives new energy to the store around the holidays.”

Brooke Hyden, style expert and visual merchandising strategist, Zappos.com: “Pops of color are being mixed with a neutral base of khaki, gray, white, chocolate and black. As always, the nautical look is trending for resort. Light sweaters and trenchcoats complement the style. I am also loving cute floral dresses and espadrilles with colorblocking to add that extra pop of color.”

Jyothi Rao, general manager of women’s, Gilt Groupe: “Alexander Wang and Phillip Lim seem to be heavily influenced by sport, as seen in the parkas, scuba references and drawstring details. Scuba was heavily represented in Alexander Wang, Michael Kors, and Donna Karan had a dress called the scuba body dress. Polka dots seem to be a huge trend, as seen at Marc by Marc Jacobs and Prabal Gurung.”

Laura Porco, general merchandise manager, Myhabit.com: “There was a strategic balance between real beauty and practicality. Everything was elegant and wearable.” Porco cited Prabal Gurung’s ladylike rose print dresses and exceptional separates; Pringle’s elegant two-toned pants; Rachel Roy’s mod looks in bright oranges and fun, beautiful separates; Chris Benz’s whimsy and African-inspired patterns; Doo Ri’s beautiful jersey draping and subtle prints, and Peter Som’s colorful orchid print dresses. Standout shoes were Chris Benz’s fabric-covered wedges with patterned chiffon straps and Claudia Ciuti’s Studio 54 “elevator” platforms.