It will be back to basics this spring — with a twist.
This story first appeared in the September 28, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Classic, wearable silhouettes in textured, rich, neutral and pastel fabrics paired with unique accessories are just some of the looks designers who exhibited at Capsule conjured up for spring 2012.
“There will be a lot of prints and clean looks, a lot of mixing and matching,” said designer Timo Weiland. “It’s sporty by a crazy long shot.”
That’s just fine with Weiland, whose namesake label is all about “practicality.”
Weiland’s spring collection, which retails for between $75 and $1,100, included stretch cocktail dresses, chiffon and organza pleated blouses in costal floral prints, pocketed cotton skirts and white pin-striped anoraks.
“We’re advanced contemporary with a designer’s sensibility,” he said. “People are really dressing for the day even if it’s for evening looks.”
Regardless of price point, effortless wearability was a theme at the trendy trade show, which ran Sept. 17 to 19 in the Center 548 venue in Chelsea.
“The show put forth a very defined vision of spring-summer 2012 style,” said Capsule co-founder Edina Sultanik. “We had over 2,500 visitors in three days.”
Capsule, which is in its fourth season, boasted 194 exhibitors versus 130 last year, and traffic at the show increased about 30 percent.
“Our collection is all about the feel of the fabric,” said Billy Reid wholesale sales manager Spencer Singer, who held up a shrunken brown motorcycle jacket that retails for $1,595. “Billy is very conscious of keeping his collection affordable and wearable.”
Even in accessories, texture reigned.
“There’s definitely a resurgence in hats. It’s an item to update a wardrobe and it gives you instant character,” said milliner Albertus Swanepoel, who explained that men’s felt hats for women will be popular come spring.
Swanepoel hats, which cost $60 to $210 wholesale, are an “economical way” to update your look, the designer said.
But keeping the consumer in mind is just one side of the coin. Facing rising labor costs and raw material prices, brands added new twists on the familiar, in order to keep demand alive.
“We’ve been using a lot of fabrics with textures like Japanese denim in chambray, which has really helped the collection,” said Trovata founder and creative director John Whitledge. “People aren’t looking for something that’s so basic but instead, timeless. All our silhouettes are easy to wear but in very interesting fabrics.”
As a result, Trovata, which retails for between $130 and $450, has been able to raise its prices without harming business.
“The price of cotton and lace has definitely gone up, so our prices have gone up. Our customers understand,” said Heather Green, director of sales at Miguelina, the 15-year-old brand that is known for white lace dresses.
One way to combat higher prices is to keep a limited inventory, said Jenny Oh, director of global sales at Rogan, the New York-based brand known for its minimalistic aesthetic.
“If you [buyers] missed the boat, you missed the boat,” she said, adding that much to the delight of consumers, the spring collection has pops of color. “Business has been really healthy. We’re doing significantly higher orders versus last year.”