NEW YORK — Bridge sportswear resources are bullish about the upcoming holiday and resort market weeks, with many concentrating on buy-now, wear-now merchandise for holiday, with a small selection of warm-weather pieces for resort travel and Southern stores.
As is usually the case for holiday and resort, the fashion focus is on novelty items for impulse buying and gift-giving, and on a wider color array.
Vendors that report strong spring sales are especially positive about the business they’ll book for holiday, noting that retailers are coming to appointments armed with recent sell-through reports. As a result, orders are expected to be up substantially — in the double digits — at most firms.
“We’re opening Monday with enthusiasm because of our sales now,” said Elie Tahari, chairman of Tahari Ltd. “We’ve had strong sales from March, April and May. We haven’t had these types of sell-throughs in seven or eight years.”
Tahari said he has restructured how he merchandises his holiday and resort deliveries. For the first time in a decade, Tahari will not ship a resort collection. Instead, it will open dressy holiday I and holiday II groups for October and November delivery, and will also open spring I and spring II, which are for December and January deliveries.
“It’s positive but conservative, in terms of the outlook and buying,” said Andrew Rosen, president of Anne Klein & Co. “There’s excitement with our lines but it’s not freespending. It’s a more items-driven season, so A Line Anne Klein will do very well with wear-now items.”
Rosen said the Anne Klein and A Line Anne Klein businesses deliver about 20 percent of their merchandise as holiday looks, 40 percent as wear-now looks, and 40 percent as resort looks. He expects the Anne Klein II business to be up slightly over last season, and A Line to be up “dramatically.”
“We’ve been seeing phenomenal increases at retail, so I think it will be great for us,” said Linda Allard, director of design at Ellen Tracy.
Allard said the Ellen Tracy collection focuses on both holiday and resort to accommodate its warm-weather and cold-weather accounts.
“We gear the line toward interesting items for impulse buys because I don’t think women are really wardrobing at that time of the year,” said Allard. The Company division features items to be worn at holiday time as well as knitwear that ranges from wools to cotton knit dressing for a variety of weather.
Denise Seegal, president of DKNY, said she has positive expectations for market week, due to strong sales currently at retail. In particular, she said, DKNY’s spring jeans business is ahead about 30 percent. “The fourth quarter should be quite strong,” she said, pointing to the increasing popularity of casual sportswear looks. For holiday, day-to-evening tuxedo looks are expected to be strong, and for resort, Seegal cited strength in DKNY brightly colored active looks and more wintry looks that could go to the ski slopes.
“We’re coming off a strong season, especially in Sport,” noted Adrienne Vittadini, designer and chairman of the firm bearing her name. “We generally do especially well in the fourth quarter because knitwear is so important. The line is really color-driven.”
Vittadini shows cold weather, wear-now looks for October retailing, while the November delivery has a mix of cold weather, wear-now looks and gift-giving items. The Sport line, Vittadini said, always focuses on cottons, so they can be worn in warmer climates.
“I don’t want to make it sound like it’s going to be easy street,” said Dana Buchman, “but we’re very excited. We’ve taken what was great last year and expanded the concepts — like silk tunics and silk dressing that can be dressed up for holiday, or worn at home. We’re expecting business to be up over last resort season.”
Buchman said she shows pieces that are dressed up a bit, noting velvet collars as an example, for what the firm calls its mid-winter delivery, and uses a variety of silk fabrics in colors that are appropriate for warm or cold-weather areas of the country for what is termed early spring.
Randy Kemper is featuring beaded pieces for holiday delivery and lightweight mixes of neutrals and some color for more of resort.
“It’s such a tricky season though, because people don’t buy to go away anymore,” said Kemper.