Doneger’s David Wolfe Serves Up Spring 2014 Trends

The creative director of The Doneger Group said that if something is a real trend, it lasts longer than a season.

A Burberry bag with metallic trim.

NEW YORK — “It’s no longer a seasonal game. It’s an evolutionary process these days,” said David Wolfe, creative director of The Doneger Group, discussing spring 2014 fashion trends.

In his presentation, “The Big Picture: Spring 2014…and Beyond,” Wolfe said that although there are plenty of trends to talk about, if something is a real trend, it lasts longer than a season. Among some of the big trends on the horizon: modern graphic stripes; expanded color palettes; unnatural materials (see-through plastic, rubber, vinyl); ultralight fabrics; shifting silhouettes, and familiar items in unexpected colors and materials.

Wolfe lamented that even though the fashion industry is supposed to be leading in fashion and style, “We’re stuck in retro. We’re standing with one foot in the past and one foot in the future.”

Illustrating a variety of trends in the 21st century, Wolfe pointed to the robotic revolution, offering his explanation to why robots are so popular in Japan. “Japan doesn’t have enough people for jobs, so they’re creating artificial people with robots,” he said. He discussed the fascination with unnatural looking textiles and those that look futuristic, especially those with holographic surfaces. He also pointed to metallics that are now being worn year-round and not just during the holiday period. “We’ll be seeing more metallic prints.”

“We love stripes, and for this fall, we love pinstripes,” said Wolfe. He believes the fashion industry is beginning to rethink luxe fashion and there’s a modernization going on. He said that a recent auction where a Rolls-Royce went for $74,000, and an Hermès bag for $77,000 indicated there is something wrong. “All this could mean the end of the Kardashians, but that’s too much to ask for,” said Wolfe. The challenge right now is that there is no one trend that’s more important than the others, he said. It’s important to look beneath the surface for color stories, textile trends and design trends.

He also said no one color dominates and he’s seeing multiple color stories. The key is to figure out which colors your customer is ready for. “The ‘It’ color is gone,” he proclaimed. For next spring, colors run the gamut from bold and bright, to mellow yellow, neutral, nude, darks “and the most sophisticated color combination of navy blue and black.”

“If you’re doing black, you better be doing something new with black, such as new details or new silhouettes,” he advised.  He also said to throw away the rules of no white after Labor Day. White is an option all year round, and he wasn’t just talking about “winter white,” but sparkling white.

As far as fabrics, they’re losing weight. There are plenty of man-made nonwovens and transparent fabrics, which are best when layered. There are also printed sheers, which give an illusionary effect, as well as lace, mesh-net, light knits that are airy, and mixes of ultralight and sheer fabrics.

Wolfe pointed to shifting shapes, and said that about seven important silhouettes are going on at the same time: curvy shapes; soft sculptures; boxed-in shapes; the Asian aesthetic (flat shapes and kimono shapes); bigger, away-from-the-body shapes, and extended shoulders and sensuous ruffles.

Finally, he illustrated what he called “proven newness,” familiar items in unexpected colors and materials, such as a Burberry handbag with metallic trim. Others are white shirts (not basic); cardigan jackets (echoing Chanel’s classic); leather shorts; slim pants; wide pants; pantsuits (from strictly tailored to soft and slouchy);  pants sets (matching tunics and pants); full skirts; doll dresses (which he said he hopes will be worn on younger customers), and tuxedo spin-offs, as an homage to Yves Saint Laurent.