Fall 2013 Trend: Saturation Point

In fall fashion, which is hitting stores now, color — and red in particular — can translate into sales.

View Slideshow

Paule Ka's wool bouclé coat and pants and Stouls' perforated leather T-shirt. Mallarino earring; Epice scarf; Maison Fabre gloves; Courrèges patent boots.

Franck Mura

“Color, by definition, is emotion,” says Claudine Barnabé Martin, the owner and buyer at L’Espionne, a boutique in Paris. Emotion is that abstract thing that fashion retailers, editors and designers pinpoint as a key driver of sales.

This story first appeared in the August 14, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

As the photos on these pages reflect, fall was a season full of saturated colors, red in particular. Barnabé Martin, who carries Drome, bought into red from collections such as Alexander McQueen, Givenchy, Balenciaga, Balmain and Carven. Beth Buccini and Sarah Easley of Kirna Zabête in New York bought the crimson hue in accessories, such as Tabitha Simmons’ and Valentino’s shoe collections, as well as Fenton jewelry, with special red ready-to-wear items such as Dior’s “Little Red Riding” coat.

Lutz Huelle’s fall collection, based on the paintings of Egon Schiele, used dark shades of green, blue and red, punctuated by a bright orange. “I loved the way the one bright color lit up everything else,” says Huelle, noting that he’s seen a change in attitude toward color in the last few seasons and is selling much more of it. “Even clients who don’t usually buy colors ended up adding them. It felt like adding rays of sun to an otherwise dark lineup.”

While most women will not choose to wear one color head to toe, brights are indispensable for providing newness to one’s wardrobe. “We definitely sell more color and print than black, as the Kirna Zabête client already has plenty [of black],” says Buccini, who bought La Prestic Ouiston’s animal prints for fall. “Our color collections pop it!”

Red features prominently in L’Espionne’s fall offering, but Barnabé Martin also bought purple and combinations of orange, red and black from Givenchy. “There is a fair amount of color [in my buy], and when there is color, it is bright,” she said. “Black is every color put together, while red is life. And with the current trend for rock ’n’ roll and post-punk, you will inevitably see flashes of red, for example, as a basis for plaid. We saw a lot of that in the collections.”

View Slideshow