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The weak economy is taking a toll on retailers, but it seems that some shoppers do have spring fever. Contemporary sportswear fans are heading to the stores to pick up a sampling of the season’s best pieces, including dresses from Diane von Furstenberg and Mixie, scarves from Love Quotes and shorts from Alexander Wang. Here, a look at some of spring’s hottest items.
This story first appeared in the April 18, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Store: Henri Bendel
Where: New York and henribendel.com
Spring bestseller: Smythe’s two-button jacket in turquoise.
Retail price: $578
Why it’s selling: “This Smythe jacket is doing so well because it is flattering and is right on trend,” said Ann Watson, vice president, fashion director. “The bright, fun color and the feminine cut make it the perfect jacket for the season and in particular for right now, the transition from winter to spring. In an economy where people are considering their purchases very carefully, this is a versatile item that can go from day to evening.”
Where: The Internet
Spring bestseller: Alexander Wang’s denim shorts.
Retail price: $285
Why it’s selling: “We sold out of it in a matter of days,” said Erin Crandall, head buyer. “It’s sexy with a tank and blazer — how it went down the runway — with flats or heels. It’s one of our favorite pieces for spring and we’re happy our customers felt the same way.”
Where: The Internet
Spring bestseller: Diane von Furstenberg’s kimono dress.
Retail price: $325
Why it’s selling: “Dresses have sold extremely well for several seasons now and electric brights have been a strong trend for spring,” said Alison Loehnis, vice president of sales and marketing. “This runway look from Diane von Furstenberg is flattering and versatile. It can be cinched in at the waist and teamed with high heels at night or worn loose and paired with flat metallic sandals during the day.”
Store: Rapunzel’s Closet
Where: Palm Beach, Fla. (three locations) and shoprapunzels.com
Spring bestseller: Printed dress from Mixie.
Retail price: $151
Why it’s selling: “We found this line at MAGIC in Las Vegas a few months ago,” said Randi Siegel, owner. “They have great styles, very fun prints and amazing prices. I think this dress is doing so well because it’s got a bright print on a basic black background and the cut is very feminine. It can be dressed down with flat metallic sandals or up with a heel.”
Where: New York, Miami and Livingston, N.J.
Spring bestseller: Kritik’s Ashlee terry hoodie.
Retail price: $150
Why it’s selling: “This year, the spring shopper is looking for pieces that are both comfortable and sophisticated,” said a spokeswoman for Atrium. “The Ashlee hoodie by Kritik has an awesome fit and the colors offered are perfect for spring.”
Where: New York (eight locations)
Spring bestseller: A Searle brand ponte knit cap-sleeve dress.
Retail price: $398
Why it’s selling: “Ponte is a fabric that can be worn all year round,” said Rick Weinstein, Searle’s director of sales and marketing. “It’s become a staple at this point. The dress can be worn from work to dinner and the fit is superb. The fact that it has a sleeve is paramount, too, as most women look for a little coverage on that part of their body. Plus the dress comes in a rainbow of colors.”
Store: Olive & Bette’s
Where: New York (four locations)
Spring bestsellers: Autumn Cashmere’s Itty Bitty cardigan in eight colors and The Stilt jeans by AG in white.
Retail prices: $260 for the cardigan and $175 for the jeans.
Why they’re selling: “[The cardigan is] the perfect twist on a classic, the colors are amazing and it can be worn year-round,” said Stacey Pecor, owner. “Also, its small shape makes it perfect for layering over dresses. “[The jeans are] supersoft, the fit is amazing and its clean, sophisticated shape is perfect for our customers.”
Where: Columbus, Ohio
Spring bestsellers: Scarves from Tolani and Love Quotes.
Retail prices: $75 for Tolani and $70 for Love Quotes.
Why they’re selling: “They are the perfect way to finish off a look,” said Maren Roth, owner. “I am a jeans and T-shirt girl most days. I swear by a Nation or LNA white V-neck, a great pair of denim from Level 99 or Anlo and always finish off or add to my outfit by throwing a Tolani or Love Quotes scarf on. I really feel that scarves are such a staple in today’s wardrobe, so instead of buying a new top, many women, and men, for that matter, are bulking up on scarves.”