THE TOMBOY LOOK CAN'T COMPETE WITH THE SEXY, FEMININE AESTHETIC PERVADING SPRING COLLECTIONS.
Girls just wanna have fun.
That's the message female shoppers are trumpeting to apparel manufacturers, who are responding with spring deliveries of "girlie" or more feminine looks, including lace detail, ruffles and floral prints.
"People want to return to happier times, when it was fun to be romantic and sexy instead of grungy," said Dawn Reffsin, regional sales manager for New York-based contemporary resource Supply & Demand.
Reffsin said the emphasis on fashion bottoms has shifted above the waist. Supply & Demand offers tops with lace detailing, yokes and trim in several silhouettes, including off-the-shoulder, boatneck, camisole and a wrap. Floral and paisley prints are also offered. Reffsin added that the firm is "doing just a touch of ruffles, but they're a lot subtler than what has been seen at market."
Equally ladylike is Supply & Demand's stretch petticoat, which Reffsin said is a "flouncy throw-on with a lace overlay...it's the kind of thing you would wear in the park or countryside."
For Supply & Demand's Fashionista line, targeted at a younger demographic, the spring collection is a "more sophisticated take on vintage," said Reffsin. Low-rise pants and cropped tops are hallmark items in the collection.
Reffsin said feminine looks will increase in popularity as "the weather warms up and people start to feel better about our country."
Sandra Soba, the owner of an eponymous showroom at the Chicago Merchandise Mart and the designer of her own contemporary line, patrick j by sandra soba, said many of the collections she reps -- as well as her own -- are increasing their feminine looks.
"I don't regard these looks as trends, but as a love of retro fashion that continuously reemerges," she said.
The patrick j by sandra soba line offers fruit prints in different colors, including brown, green and white, on silk chiffon and stretch cotton skirts, pants and blouses. The line also features a boatneck dress with a ruffled hem, three-quarter-length sleeves and a one-inch belt, which Soba described as "very Fifties." A similar retro-chic boatdress has spaghetti straps and a ruffled hem. The ruffled look is also present in Fondue, a Los Angeles-based line she reps that includes silk ruffled prairie skirts.Aside from her own line, which is based in Los Angeles, many of the collections she reps at her Chicago showroom are on the feminine bandwagon, including Los Angeles-based Fondue and Italy's Emolzione.
"I know this trend is going to be a hit, since [Emolzione] is from Italy, meaning orders had to be booked early," Soba said. "Even though they're known for sweaters, all their lace stuff sold really well."
Lace is a popular look at Emolzione, which offers camisoles, tie-front shirts, skirts and dresses in a lace-viscose blend that resembles the properties of satin. Emolzione also offers a Forties-inspired group, which includes skirts and dresses in double- and triple-tiered chiffon.
In New York, contemporary firm New Frontier is stepping up its feminine offerings, which include lace insets on items and ruffled blouses, peasant skirts and a V-neck dress.
"Basically, it's a new way to look pretty or to make jeans -- which are still important -- prettier," said sales manager Jody Rubin. "You feel and look more like a woman."
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