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Stores Eager for a Fresh Spring

The definition of spring as a time of growth and renewal seems particularly apt on the eve of fashion week.

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NEW YORK — The definition of spring as a time of growth and renewal seems particularly apt on the eve of fashion week. With so many successful trends last fall, the question on retailers’ lips is whether they will be perfected, tweaked or subverted?

Everyone agreed color will be a primary concern, with black and neutrals banished to the far corners of the store floor. Ethnic prints and jet set can conjure up very different images, but combine them and you get the feeling we’re headed toward another Talitha Getty moment. It also seems the time is ripe for the comeback of the jacket. After so many seasons of sweaters standing in for the sturdier garment, jackets will be ubiquitous in shrunken and cropped incarnations offset by fuller skirts.

Promising young designers are stirring up interest, but tried-and-true names still have the ability to spark anticipation. Retailers were also optimistic about the logistics and timing of the shows. One thing that hasn’t changed about fashion week is that hope still springs eternal.

Jennifer Wheeler, vice president of designer apparel at Nordstrom

Are there any young designers you feel hopeful about? L’wren Scott, Lisa Perry and Keren Craig and Georgina Chapman of Marchesa.

What trends are you expecting to see at fashion week? The continued evolution of the dress, clear colors, a sense of modernism, shine and florals.

What are you looking for from fashion week? A fresh perspective from a breakout collection or designer. We always look forward to what Oscar de la Renta, Marc Jacobs and Proenza Schouler will show us.

Are there any trends you’d like to see disappear? Bubble skirts and high-waisted pants.

How is your open-to-buy? Up!

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

Are there any young designers you feel hopeful about? We love Chris Benz and Katy Rodriguez. And let’s give everyone a chance and help support new ideas for more than one “love-fest” season.

What are you expecting to see? More of the tailoring mood we’re in — polished and chic clothing, dresses, dresses, dresses and interesting sleeves.

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What are you hoping to see? A return to ethnic prints, jet-setter style, big, sculptural gold jewelry, vibrant color and razzle! I’m also hoping for smaller venues à la Oscar de la Renta; let’s keep fashion week a family affair.

What are you looking for from fashion week? Well thought out design solutions that reflect a designer’s point of view, are relevant to a modern woman’s needs and are not a rehash of the prior European season. I love Americans doing American sportswear.

Are there any trends you’d like to see disappear? Bloated volume in skirts, sleeves and jackets, chunky and clunky shoes, attitude, celebrity rehab makeovers and no more crochet.

Nevena Borissova, owner of Curve in Los Angeles and New York

Are there any young designers you feel hopeful about? Preen, a British husband-and-wife team showing in New York for the first time.

What collections are you excited about seeing? Jenni Kayne, Richard Chai, Zac Posen and Proenza Schouler. I love Derek Lam. A lot of the big American designers are so commercial and a lot of designers [I supported] are opening stores. I love Ports 1961 but they’re opening a store on Melrose Avenue around the corner from my boutique.

What are you looking for from fashion week? Scuba zipper dresses, Hervé Léger-inspired stretchy body-hugging dresses, high-waisted, wide-legged pants and skinny leather pants. There will be a lot of ethnic prints done in a modern way. The piped blazer that Balenciaga introduced a season ago is going to be in every single collection.

Are there any trends you’d like to see disappear? I’m over jersey and baby-doll dresses.

How is your open-to-buy? My open-to-buy is up, but I’ll only buy things I love that are special or one-of-a-kind.

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

What are you looking for from fashion week? We’re looking for the continuation of great color and wonderful prints. We’re looking for new jacket silhouettes with cropped jackets, trapeze jackets and sleeve interest. Slim cropped pants will continue, shorts have done very well and there will be a pant with a very wide leg and higher waist. The interest in prints seems major. We want to see how shine and the idea of gold and silver is treated. Embellishment will be about fabric manipulation such as origami pleating and tucking.

What collections are you excited about seeing? All the established designers, Marc Jacobs, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Donna Karan and DKNY. We do a big business with MaxAzria and Anna Sui. We love Vivienne Tam. Naturally, I want to see the influencers, Proenza Schouler, Thakoon, Doo.Ri and Phillip Lim.

Which young designers are you looking forward to seeing? We’ve been looking at people like Twinkle and promoting designers that are part of Ecco Domani such as Naum and Erin Featherstone.

How is your open-to-buy? Up. We’re reopening the bridge floor and are very enthusiastic about that business.

Jeffrey Kalinsky, founder of Jeffrey New York and Atlanta

What are you hoping to see for spring? Shorter lengths and straighter silhouettes, color and a continuation of feminine dressing. I think the skirt is going to be the new pant. In terms of pants, they will be bigger and more billowy.

What collections are you excited about seeing? We’ve been carrying Lisa Perry exclusively and did brilliantly with it. I’m really excited to see her new collection. I have been a freak about Oscar de la Renta for the last few years. Just when you think you’ve seen something incredible from Oscar, he does something even more incredible. Michael Kors had one of the best resort collections I’ve seen for a long time. I’m always excited to see Narciso Rodriguez and Proenza Schouler. Everything you see from Rodarte stimulates all your senses.

Are there any trends you’d like to see disappear? I’ve never been such a fan of Eighties-influenced fashion.

How is your open-to-buy? I always tend to buy more for spring than fall. The clothes are so much more happy and colorful. Our open-to-buy is wide open as long as it’s something we love.

Stephanie Solomon, vice president and fashion director of women’s ready-to-wear and accessories at Bloomingdale’s

What are people buzzing about? Color. Spring will be bursting with color, from spice tones to neon brights.

Are there any young designers you feel hopeful about? Chris Benz has a lot of talent. Weldon Layne looked good to me and I’m hoping to discover a lot more.

What collections are you excited about seeing? I always look forward to the Marc Jacobs show. Whatever trends we’re thinking of, he’ll send something totally different down the runway.

What are you expecting to see? Prints are going to continue, but will become a little more ethnic. There’s a mood of Seventies jet set going on, but it’s not retro. Nicholas Ghesquière [Balenciaga’s designer] marked a path when he paired a blazer with an ethnic scarf, which is reflective of the rich hippy. We’re going to see the return of the skirt — not the miniskirt — and the maxi dress. Silhouettes will continue to come closer to the body with shrunken jackets, cropped pants and shorts. There’s a safari mood, but it’s not head-to-toe. Caftans and tunics done in an ethnic way look new.

What are you looking for from fashion week? Some time to take a break and maybe have lunch one day.

Are there any trends you’d like to see disappear? Short voluminous baby-doll dresses.

How is your open-to-buy? We are open to buying anything that looks new and exciting.

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

What are you expecting to see? A continuation of polished attitude, bold color, foiled color, ombré, tie-dye, pale watercolor shades and brush strokes inspired by the hand of the artist. Also, prints with multicultural references and florals big and small. The dress will continue, sexy and close to the body. Jackets will be important and will often play into interesting skirt shapes.

What are you hoping to see? We are enthusiastic about the early message we’ve seen for spring and excited that the dressed-up spirit from fall continues.

What are you looking to get from fashion week? We are always looking for great product that our customer, who is a fashion enthusiast, will be excited about; the opportunity to discover new talent.

Stefani Greenfield, co-owner of Scoop

What are people buzzing about? The big buzz for fall was about the new tailored shapes and the pronounced shift from spring’s flouncy girl to fall’s sophisticated lady. I think people will “stay tuned” to see if spring continues on the ladylike course or veers back into girlhood.

Are there any young designers you feel hopeful about? We tend to look for new designers in different cities and countries.

What trends are you expecting to see at fashion week? A continuation of bold and bright colors, updates to all of the new textures we saw for fall and an evolution of fall’s sophisticated elegance and streamlined silhouettes.

What are you looking for from fashion week? A great showing from the best designers in American fashion and inspiration and direction for the season to come.

Are there any trends you’d like to see disappear? People dressing strictly by trend. True style comes from knowing what works for your body and your life. Trends shouldn’t dictate how you dress, they should inspire it.

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