NEW YORK -- Dress and suit firms have high hopes that short lengths will mean a bright summer market this week.
Makers expect buyers to be placing additional orders for spring, looking and buying summer and previewing early fall. While there is optimism in the market, few are counting on big gains, and most firms will be happy with slight increases. The heavy dose of caution that marked most of the past two years still lingers on.
For example, Tom Burns, general merchandise manager at The Doneger Group, said: "I think that based upon the holiday season, people will be cautious going forward into the first quarter. Last year, many people were refinancing and reinvesting in their homes. There were double-digit increases in home furnishings, which took away from women's apparel.
"But I believe consumers will be coming back to shop for clothes, as long as we give them value from the start of the season."
The spring winners -- short dresses and skirts, which range from thigh-high minis to just above the knee -- are expected to give summer a lift as well, manufacturers say. Fitted suit jackets and dresses with waist interest are important elements in the spring-summer design scheme.
"We have tons of appointments for market week, and we're cautiously optimistic about the new year," said Morris Marmalstein, president of The Warren Group. "There's a lot of newness in pantsuits and wedge dresses and two-piece dresses. There are also some promotional groups that are becoming important parts of our business."
Marmalstein noted that although it's a summer market, seasons are backed up and "there's a lot of spring still to be sold." He's planning on being ahead for spring, although no huge gains are anticipated.
Gregg Marks, president of the Kasper division of The Leslie Fay Cos., said that while fall goods saw heavy markdowns in December, early spring goods are selling well at regular price. Marks said soft suits in polyester microfiber and triacetate are performing strongly for spring. "Classic silhouettes are important in colors such as blue, sage, red, royal, and taupe," Marks said. "Overall, we're planning on 25 to 30 percent increases for spring and summer."Sally Krieger, vice president of Augustus Clothiers, said with stores buying closer to the season, a lot of spring buying will be happening in the showroom along with summer and early fall. Krieger expects buyer interest in a summer group of pale blue and indigo suits and separates in softly tailored linens, silk georgettes
"People are becoming more optimistic and things are picking up a bit," Krieger said. "Our bookings for spring are slightly ahead, but because we produce in New York, our customers come to us as late as May looking for spring merchandise."
Jeannene Booher, owner and designer of the bridge-price dress and suit firm bearing her name, said she's doing a separate 25-piece collection for summer, but also expects a lot of spring buying to be done.
"That's been the pattern the last few years," said Booher, who started the firm for this past fall season after designing for Maggy London for many years. "We started slow for fall, but resort has really picked up, and we have significant bookings for spring."
Booher said she went short in many dresses because it looks "younger and snappier," but that there are some long print dresses that are selling as well.
George Furlan, president of Kathyrn Dianos Inc., said, "Things are definitely looking up. In the fall, we got carried away with the ecclesiastic and monastic look. Now there is a clearer look, and business is responding accordingly."
That look, for designer Kathyrn Dianos, means lightweight fabrics, understated detail and short flip dresses with fuller hems.
Marjorie Cohen, vice president of Helen Hsu, said the suit end of the business is leading the way for spring-summer, mostly in short skirts with long fitted jackets. Short coatdresses continue to be hot sellers in the firm's wool and rayon knit mainstay fabric.
Cohen projected an increase of about 15 percent for spring-summer, thanks to a "much more positive attitude" in the stores, although she noted a lot of business will be booked by traveling to out-of-town stores that don't come to New York as much as before.
Steven Stolman, who opened his own firm bearing his name in November, said spring bookings are double what he originally planned, and he's well on his way to his volume projection of $2 million for 1994.He said summer market week means later deliveries on lighter-weight pieces and a chance to preview early fall with some stores.
Mary Ann Casale, divisional merchandise manager of suits and dresses at Certified Fashion Guild, said two-piece dressing like jackets over dresses or rompers with vests should be important, plus short fit-and-flare dresses.
"One problem I see is that a lot of stores are coming in just looking for promos, and that frightens me," Casale said. "Stores have to be careful to keep a balance of merchandise in their stores."
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)