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This spring, the contemporary customer can expect looks that span the globe.Call her a closet traveler: The contemporary girl can count on clothes that span a global array of influences.
This story first appeared in the August 12, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
It looks as though the exotic looks inspired by India, Morocco, Tunisia, Mexico, Bali, China and Cuba — the runaway hits of the past spring and summer — will carry into holiday and spring 2003.
Those seasons will be aflutter with embroidery, lace trim, tucking, appliqués, flouncy skirts with cinched waists and a mélange of bright colors. Here, a look at what’s ahead for contemporary.
Sharagono’s focus for spring is on embroideries inspired by Morocco and China, soft silk georgettes, chiffons and kurtas — the latter being a shirt with an elaborately trimmed neckline, sleeves and hem worn by men in India. But the Paris-based contemporary and sportswear line is also looking to the Continent for innovative textiles.
“We offer the latest fabrics from Europe,” said David Shamouelian, Sharagono’s U.S. vice president. “We’re introducing denim with a lot of new treatments and a lot of embellished cottons. Shine is very important.”
Wholesale prices range from $39 for novelty tops in stretch fabrics, either solid or printed, to $220 for leather and suede skirts, pants and jackets in earth tones. Other colors for spring will be dusty pastels, black and white.
Kitchen Orange, the tomboy-friendly Canadian label, has fallen prey to some feminine touches. Influenced by customer feedback, the line is geared more toward a girl’s needs on nights out than it has been in the past.
“It’s sexier,” said Zoe Theophilos, designer of the Montreal-based line. “We’ve raised the hemline to miniskirts and baby-doll dresses.”
Aside from one print — of Holly Hobby–style hearts and stripes — most of the line comes in bright solids, mostly yellow, green, red, white, black and navy.
Kitchen Orange will make use of nylon and Lycra blended with cotton — anything to infuse fabrics with stretch.
“We’re very conscious of how women want to feel when they’re getting dressed to go out,” said Theophilos.
Wholesale prices range from $24 for a green and white reversible cropped tank top in a polyester-Lycra blend to $44 for a polyester gold and ivory bomber jacket.
Distressed vintage is the look Riley is after in its array of low-waisted sweats, novelty sweatshirts and corduroys. Faded denim blues, olive, khaki and heather gray are the holiday colors. But the Vernon, Calif.–based contemporary label is keeping the latest washes and treatments a secret until the show.
“Everything has a worn look and is really fun to wear,” said designer Jeanine Mark, noting she draws inspiration from current events, magazines and people she sees on the street.
Of course, places she’s traveled also provide trend inspiration and the concepts that would cater to the line’s demographic. Her favorite haunts include Europe, South Africa, Japan and Hong Kong.
Wholesale price points range from a garment-dyed tank top with recycled denim trim for $25 to a quilted distressed-denim jacket, for $85.
Shu Shu, a contemporary fine-gauge knit, New York-based company in business 13 years, is counting on lace, stripes, romantic retro looks, peasant-style items and tropical themes and colors to be big trends for spring, said Kate Lenig-Shayner, executive vice president.
“Romance and bohemian or peasant looks are getting stronger, and they look fresh when interpreted with fine-gauge knits. I think there’s a big market out there for this approach. And contemporary is attracting a bigger range of consumers than ever before. Many former misses’ shoppers are crossing over to contemporary for the trends and the more forgiving styling.”
Shu Shu plans to interpret the trends with twinsets, tank tops, cardigans and sweaters, some of which feature sexy contour stitching.
Wholesale prices are $26 for tank tops to $45 for embellished cardigans.
In addition to the Shu Shu contemporary label, the company also produces under the Kerri-n-Kelsey misses’ label which is more classic and less trendy: capri pants, twinsets, more tailored pants ensembles and some knits.
Wholesale prices range from $20 for a basic T-shirt to $40 for a classic jacket. The company, which mostly produces in Asia, is owned by Lillian and George Hsu.
Suede jackets, skirts and pants, washed denim jeans and denim mixed with knits and novelty ethnic prints and references such as Native American themes will be bestsellers for spring, said Ronen Armony, product development manager for Lili Rose, a Los Angeles-based contemporary dress and sportswear company.
“The market is going crazy over suede, which certainly isn’t just for cold weather anymore. For spring, it’s going to be all over the place. And denim keeps eclipsing itself each season and getting stronger. Ethnic remains a favorite novelty theme, and Native American looks are going to is going to appeal to a lot of consumers.”
At Lili Rose, wholesale prices are $34 for a top to $128 for a suede jacket.