By  on February 4, 2006

NEW YORK — These days, fashion designers rarely walk in lockstep. But if everyone designs to the beat of his or her drummer, there are also trends that are addressed en masse when they run their course. Ornamentation could be one of them. All those flourishes on jeans and jackets, handbags and hems, might end up looking like yesteryear's shoulder pads if designers aren't careful.

Clearly, there's an appetite for polished, pulled-together clothes. Some characterized the new look for fall as grown-up, refined and pared-down. Others described a new sensuality that will eclipse embellishment. This could prove to be a pivotal season for pants with waists moving higher, belts getting wider and jeans tighter — as if that were possible. Dark indigo and black are the new washes, and practicality be damned, they'll be shown with stilettos. In general, retailers seem to be looking for class over flash, and tailoring and dressmaking details rather than tricked-out gimmicks. But no one wants to lose the charm — that je ne sais quois — that makes a collection engaging.

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

What I'd like to see during New York Fashion Week: Fewer celebrities. It's not that it is annoying having celebrities at fashion shows, it's actually great for the designers. It's just too much frenzy created by the photographers.

What I'm expecting to see: More photographers.

People are buzzing about: Barneys' live fashion presentation in the window on Monday at 11:30 of Tara Subkoff's new collection of denim for Imitation of Christ. We promise no seating hassle. I also can't wait to see Trovata, winners of the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund Award, and I'm so happy that Daryl K is doing something. Of course, all the Ecco Domani winners will be interesting and Marc Jacobs is always a must-see.

Changes I'm anticipating: I'm ready to see complex clothes that look beautiful and are more pared down. The best collections will be ones that concentrate on the craft of making clothes with great quality and tailoring.

Open-to-buy: Is ready to rock!Michael Fink, senior fashion director at Saks Fifth Avenue

What I'd like to see: I'm bored with collections that are based on trend reports. I really want to see collections that are passionate, that come from the heart. Make us absolutely love or hate the clothes! I hope the idea of dressing up, taking the time to think about what you're wearing, becomes more pronounced. I don't want to hear that everything goes back to a pair of jeans. And add some color, please! Life isn't all so black and dreary.

What I'm expecting to see: Sculpted tailoring, romantic blouses, slim silhouettes, maxi coats and miniskirts (for those who haven't worn them before) all seem right to me.

I'm looking forward to seeing: Brian Bradley, Francisco Costa, Doo.Ri [Chang], Donna Karan, Rodarte and Ruffian. These designers are all pushing themselves and their customers into a modern and passionate way of dressing.

Open-to-buy: About our pencil, it's always sharp and ready to write.

Jeffrey Kalinsky, founder of Jeffrey New York

What I'd like to see: Clean, modern clothes. I'm looking for refinement. I don't think my customer is going to want a lot of tricked-up clothes with a lot of ornamentation. I'm also looking for great outerwear with a sporty side in men's wear fabrics.

What I'm expecting to see: Colors will be more classic with some rich olive khakis and shades of berry, but not bright, loud colors. Some of the women's pre-collections were very deconstructed. I'm into cleaned-up fashion. In terms of pants, we may see a higher waist. We'll see skinny, skinny silhouettes from some and a lot of volume from other people.

I'm looking forward to seeing: Brian Reyes, Karl Lagerfeld and Neil Barrett. I'm looking forward to seeing my favorite American designers we carry, Proenza Schouler, Oscar de la Renta, Michael Kors, Behnaz Sarafpour and Narciso Rodriguez.

Open-to-buy: Big.

Jennifer Wheeler, director of designer apparel at NordstromWhat I would like to see: More color and interesting color mixes. What's the new black? I'm also anxious to see the evolution of the dress. It was so important for spring. We hope it will continue for fall and that we'll see more daytime options. We're always looking for great coats. Shearing appears to be emerging as an important trend.

What I'm expecting to see: The play on volume will continue. Also, we'll see the evolution of the pant. Will the fuller leg emerge as the key shape and length or will it be narrower and more stovepipe? We also expect to see the Russian influence.

People buzzing about: Denim. What will be new and how will we be wearing it that's fresh? Will it be worn with a longer jacket, will it be cleaner or more adorned?

Changes I'm anticipating: Less fullness in skirts with movement at the hem. The new suit has a longer jacket paired with a dress or a shorter jacket with pants.

I'm looking forward to seeing: Karl Lagerfeld's new denim-based collection, Michon Schur, and, of course, Marc Jacobs is always so directional. I'm curious to see how he'll top the Nittany Lions marching band from last season.

Open-to-buy: We come into market with a budget, and we never plan for decreases. If we see something unexpected that we love, we will buy it.

Ann Stordahl, executive vice president of women's apparel for Neiman Marcus Stores

What I'd like to see: More rich color accents such as the hunter green and shades of red that we have seen in some pre-collections. I'm hopeful that we will see fewer heavy fabrics than last fall.

Changes I'm hoping to see: A change in silhouette with a narrow leg and more volume in tops like blousons and coats worked over pants; also jersey dresses and separates and some strong dresses, including cocktail.

I'm looking forward to seeing: Karl Lagerfeld and Marchesa. We're buying both.What I expect to see: Everything is generally very clean. We're seeing a lot less print, although there is some color. There's more of the handcrafted detail, pleating, shearing or tucks.

People are buzzing about: The incredible gridlock in the fashion schedules with the European pre-collection writing appointments scheduled almost concurrently with the start of New York Fashion Week. It makes it very difficult for the buyers.

Linda Fargo, women's fashion director at Bergdorf Goodman

What I'm hoping to see: We're still loving fur, and shoes have been fabulous to watch, the transition to wedges.

What I'm expecting to see: New shifts in silhouette in terms of proportions. There's going to be a lot of interest in the Sixties with Sienna Miller channeling Edie Sedgwick in the upcoming film “Factory Girl,” and Carnaby Street will emerge.

People are buzzing about: Rodarte, something that's new to the scene. Other up-and-comers are [Ashley] Verrier and Doo.Ri, Michon Schur and Brian Reyes. Francisco Costa had a really sensational collection last season and Donna Karan had that beautiful art-inspired collection. Each one of them brings to mind thoughts: Vera Wang and Gilles Mendel and Narciso Rodriguez.

Open-to-buy: We're open to buying.

Nicole Fischelis, vice president and fashion director of women's ready-to-wear at Macy's

What I'm hoping to see: A new kind of luxury, how opulence translates to contemporary designers. We want to see how duffle coats, military coats and fur trim evolve from last fall. Also, how will the dress be interpreted for day. In the suiting category, we want feminized men's wear with beautiful blouses.

What I'm expecting to see: Color will be soft and subdued pastels, but we also want to see deep colors. Denim will be less embellished. There's also the whole issue of jersey with soft draping. Blouses will probably be crisper and fuller, like the poet shirt.

I'm looking forward to seeing: Doo-Ri [Chung] and Thakoon. I want to see people who are influential like Marc Jacobs, Anna Sui, Oscar de la Renta, Michael Kors and Ralph Lauren. It's very exciting that Karl Lagerfeld is showing here.Open-to-buy: Healthy. We've had a very good year.

Ed Bucciarelli, president and chief executive officer of Henri Bendel

What I hope to see: I'm looking for the continued evolution of the dress coming off of such a strong dress season this spring, and with the strong emphasis on the leg, we are looking for the new essential pant silhouette.

What I'm expecting to see: The Bendel girl is growing up this fall. We think she's going to respond well to the rich textures and refined silhouettes, including tweeds and cashmeres in plums and lodens.

People are buzzing about: Nathan Jenden, an extremely talented designer whose debut collection is a welcome new addition to the New York fashion scene, and Phillip Lim, who does great daytime pieces that are wearable and feminine.

Changes I'm anticipating: An evolution of the polished, understated look we saw for spring, and a continued move away from over-the-top embellishment.

Designers I'm watching this season: Matthew Williamson is always a highlight with his ever-evolving use of color and amazing fabrics. Jason Wu's evening gowns represent grown up glamour that's perfect for the red carpet.

Open-to-buy: As open as the talent calls for.

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