By  on September 13, 2007

A laundry list of salable trends on the New York runways for spring gave retailers' visions of cash registers going ka-ching.

A Pantone wheel of colors and a variety of prints from ikats to florals will drive sales, they predicted, as will longer day dresses to replace shorter ones in consumers' closets and cropped or long jackets.

But some store executives bemoaned they saw little on the runways to move fashion forward. It's the old argument of fashion with a capital F versus a more commercial form. Not surprisingly, the collections that injected some of the former into the latter were the most popular.

Even if watching many of the shows brought a sense of déjà vu to some, most agreed fall trends translated into lighter fabrics looked fresh. "It's not a huge shift in direction from fall," said Jennifer Wheeler, vice president of designer apparel at Nordstrom. "But [customers] haven't seen this in lighter fabrics and spring iterations."

Here's what retailers had to say about New York Fashion Week, which closed Wednesday.

Stephanie Solomon, vice president of fashion direction at Bloomingdale's

Rate the week: It was an excellent week of fresh and trend-right collections, punctuated by strong, happy colors, bold prints and stripes.

Favorite collections: Ralph Lauren still rules American sportswear — his bright yellow trenchcoat is a standout — and Donna Karan had a magnificent return to her roots with great silhouettes. [Marc Jacobs] raises the bar. I loved his color palette, his sensual printed dresses and his football jerseys. Also, Michael Kors' striped dresses, tunics and beaded shirtdress; Zac Posen's evening dresses with ruffles and organza gowns in brilliant colors, and Chris Benz for celebrating color, along with Diane von Furstenberg's bold florals, maxi- and shirtdresses, and Lyn Devon's sleek and sophisticated sensibility.

Linda Fargo, senior vice president and fashion director at Bergdorf Goodman

Rate the week: The American collections looked quintessentially...American!

What's new?: Far-flung travels, Green Movement, great ethnic prints on natural fabrics and safari wear. Boho luxe, painterly patterns and sensuous minimalism emerged, as well. The appeal of dresses holds on, although the line has dropped to the all-important waist, though the longer skirt and blouse look newer.Favorite collections: Oscar de la Renta. Effortless and beautiful, it's a wardrobe that never dates, and defines chic. Narciso Rodriguez is becoming more masterful and ever more inventive in his subtle constructions. Each piece of Calvin Klein's collection was perfectly cut. Naeem Khan is the best of luxury bohemian out there and Rodarte's collection was ethereal and beautiful.

Michael Fink, vice president and women's fashion director at Saks Fifth Avenue

What's the fashion news in New York?: Not much. Elongated silhouettes that emphasize the waist. A newer slouchy attitude in sportswear separates. Ubiquitous polished looks in barely there colors or infused with shine.

Big moments: Ralph Lauren's anniversary evening; sensory overload at Oscar; Zac Posen's refined spirit; Francisco Costa's purity of soul; Donna being pure Donna.

Spring pick-me-ups: High-waisted pants and skirts, ethnic prints, citrus colors, mid- to maxi-length skirts and dresses, one-shoulder tops and dresses, shoulder bags, eclectic jewelry, skinny belts.



Nicole Fischelis, vice president and fashion director of women's at Macy's

Favorite collections: I thought Michael Kors was especially refined, modern, new couture-like, true color magic. He had all the must-haves of the season. Among the new generation, I saw Thakoon, Peter Som, Tuleh, and they were truly exquisite — artful with wonderful workmanship and attention to detail and fabulous prints. Carolina Herrera and Oscar de la Renta were exceptional. The artistry of Marc Jacobs. I love the new tailoring from Ralph Lauren, the peplum and shock of color; Anna Sui; Betsey Johnson, and Vivienne Tam is going to the next level.

What's new: The evolution of embellishment, fabric manipulation, artful and ethnic prints. The new voluminous skirts and full dresses and the freshness of all the dresses — strapless, one-shoulder, the new halter, the whole femininity, ruffles and bows treatment. I think there is a lot of new direction. I see the fusion of the active aesthetic, safari chic and cargo has a new angle. There's the importance of the jacket, dresses, blouses and wide-leg pants. Tailoring is coming back, fitted, cropped jackets and dresses. I love the season overall because it's two sides of the brain. I find that each of the runway shows was treated like a woman's closet with all the sensible pieces, the ethnicity and the artistry.Dislikes: I didn't like waiting for shows. It shows disrespect not to start the shows almost on time.

Ken Downing, senior vice president and fashion director at Neiman Marcus

What's new?: The message I'm most excited about is that we're seeing more shape in fashion. The dress is moving closer to the body and the long length for day is looking really new.

Favorite collections: I was charmed by Oscar de la Renta. He had all the right notes of the season, such as multicultural references and ikat prints. I loved Vera Wang's subtle draping and twisting of fabrics. Marchesa sent out one beautiful gown after another and the girls at Rodarte had a beautiful collection that was much more rooted in the reality of a woman's wardrobe. Michael Kors had a great show and Phillip Lim truly understands how women want to dress. Thakoon hit all the right notes with blue ikats and a wood floral print. Doo.Ri did a beautiful job with jersey and beautiful feminine pieces that looked like they were inspired by underpinnings.

Young designers: I loved Chris Benz's presentation and use of color. I can't tell you if we're picking him up yet. I was very enchanted by Jeremy Laing, he's someone I'm going to be paying attention to, as well.

Marc meter: I'm a Marc fan, controversial chaos aside. His show was a gold mine of ideas that we'll see for years to come. It was one of those fashion moments. At the end of the day — and it literally was the end of the day — I was happy that I was there. I was exhilarated by what I saw on the runway.

Julie Gilhart, senior vice president and fashion director of Barneys New York

Rate the week: The main trend is that anything goes. There's something for everyone. The dress going from short to long will be the news for spring daytime dressing. I love the new A-line full shorter skirt and the white shirtdress. Great colors and beautiful prints will help drive spring sales.Favorite collections: Isabel Toledo for Anne Klein was amazing. In only the second season, she showed the beginning of what promises to be a must-see show. Her hand-painted pieces were the most imaginative prints of the whole week. I loved Rodarte for being luxury fantasy with softness and edge all in one collection. Narciso Rodriguez had his best collection to date. Behnaz Sarafpour's mix of luxurious organic fabrics and natural dye prints were beautifully executed.

Must-haves for spring: Dresses, especially long to the floor for day, look good; A-line full short skirts; shirtdresses, particularly in white; anything in a bold color; anything printed; full shorts; high-waisted pants, and belts.

Young designers: Alexander Wang; Band of Outsiders had a very good first presentation, and Chloë Sevigny's collection for Opening Ceremony was so cute and stylish.

Stefani Greenfield, co-owner of Scoop

What's new?: I found a lot of inspiration and newness. Silhouettes were much more fluid. I loved the longer hemlines in dresses, there were lots of great color and prints.

Favorite collections: Michael Kors' take on classic American sportswear and beautiful flowy dresses and gowns in the season's sherbet-inspired colors just seemed right. Zac Posen's gowns were phenomenal and I loved Rag & Bone's new slimmer-cropped pant. Diane von Furstenberg delivered exactly what you would expect from her — beautiful, feminine, inspired, happy, feel-good clothes — that you would bring on a fabulous vacation.

Spring must-haves: Tribal-print dresses; sherbet colors; safari-inspired; softer suiting.

Young designers: Katy Rodriguez is the vintage queen, but we love her collection. I'm looking forward to seeing Daryl K's new line, Kerrigan. Heather Schiff's jewelry and accessories line from India and Ileana Makri's new symbol collection of jewelry are fabulous.

Jennifer Wheeler, vice president of fashion direction at Nordstrom

Rate the week: It was a successful fashion week. The most exciting thing for us was all the amazing colors that we saw. It was so refreshing to see the Crayola brights and the balance of clear pastels and pale grays and mushrooms.Favorite shows: I loved Oscar de la Renta's bold ethnic prints and incredible saturated colors for evening. Zac Posen was really amazing. We liked the evolution we saw at Rodarte, their artisan hand. Anne Klein had these incredible hand-painted crinkled silk dresses, which are a signature of [designer Toledo's] personal wardrobe.

What's new?: Metallics have been so prominent and it was nice to see shine interpreted in a new way with all the charmeuse.

Marc meter: I'd never miss the Marc Jacobs show. A Marc show is always worth the wait. When we arrived we were told it was running late, so we left for a little while. It was late. It was late.

Lavelle Olexa, senior vice president of advertising, sales promotion and public relations at Lord & Taylor

Rate the week: The color palette in general was quite beautiful, particularly the pale and sand colorations and neutrals. We've had plenty of brights in the past, so this was a fresh and pretty approach.

What's new?: We also thought there was a much more polished look to fashion overall, which will be very good for our customers, and a lot of waist emphasis, which is great for accessories. The number-one accessory for spring should be the belt.

Other key trends: Wide-leg pants, pencil skirts, longer lengths with high heels, platforms and slingbacks, trenches and short-sleeve jackets with belts.

Favorite shows: Donna Karan's full-skirted short dresses and halter looks; Charles Nolan's ladylike toppers, jackets and wide-leg pants; Calvin Klein's color palette, and Carmen Marc Valvo's strong, feminine touch with all those ruffles.

Ann Watson, vice president and fashion director of Henri Bendel

Rate the week: We loved the return to the body and sublime sexiness with layered, sheer, diaphanous fabrics like chiffons and organzas. It's feminine without being girly. Prints seemed to get stronger and bolder. Diane von Furstenberg certainly did that best. Also, Phi, Michael Kors and Elise Overland. There's a continuation of polished looks. Designers have embraced a more accessorized look.What's new?: We're excited to see more jackets and the long day dress, and the focus on shorts worn with vests or jackets. There haven't been a lot of work options to come down the runway. Josh Goot's colorblocking was truly genius: icy, sherbert tones and neon brights.

Must-haves for spring: Anna Sui's puffy-sleeved blouses and Phi's vests.

Lance Lawson, an owner of Jake, which has two locations in Chicago and one in suburban Winnetka, Ill.

What's new?: Richard Chai looked especially fresh. We loved the long, slim blazers over skirts. It was a departure from the voluminous trend, which our customer is systematically rejecting.

Favorite collections: Behnaz Sarafpour best captured the mood of the season. The models and clothes had such an easy beauty. Her ladylike A-line skirts and chic dresses in bright colors embellished with wood and coral seemed fresh. We also loved the ivory hopsack jacket with the turquoise-beaded collar. Doo-Ri [Chung] delivered a collection that captured her stunning design ideal and commercial viability. Chris Benz's dead-on use of color perfectly reflected this season's color obsession.

Young designers: We previewed Katherine Tsina's capsule collection, Avion Feminin, and understand why everyone is buzzing. The collection reflected a key spring trend — black and white optic prints.

Wished I saw: Contemporary collections. There was a void. We couldn't find a single one we were impressed with this season.
— With contributions from David Moin and Marc Karimzadeh, New York, and Beth Wilson, Chicago

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