LONDON — Two of London’s top labels, Harvey Nichols and Browns, offered their takes on spring trends and seasonal picks as the first collections begin to drop on the shop floor.
Harvey Nichols said the store saw megabrands and established names outperform, while the smaller labels continue to deliver accessible price points and newness.
“We’ve had an amazing season with Gucci and Fendi. Our Fendi bag buying has been stunning. With regard to ready-to-wear, we’ve had a really good season with brands such as Roland Mouret, and all the British designers have had an amazing season as well,” said Harvey Nichols group fashion buying director Anita Barr.
The store divided its spring buy into specific themes, including Wall Street Redux, a nod to yuppie power dressing as seen on the catwalks of DKNY, Rag & Bone and Balenciaga.
“It is all about fabrics and shapes that are usually associated with power dressing,” said head of women’s wear buying Hazel Catterall. “But it’s a remix rather than a straightforward revival. So you’ll see city fabrics, like pinstripe, being reworked in unexpected ways.” She pointed to Rosetta Getty’s pin-striped shirt and Monse’s asymmetric tailored top.
The Eighties After Dark trend, she added, was spurred by Antony Vaccarello’s debut at Saint Laurent, so the spring orders included pieces with sequins, metallic finishes and single shoulder styles, such as an Isabel Marant floral one-shouldered dress.
There’s also a move toward political slogans and positive, feel-good phrases as seen at the Gucci, Haider Ackermann and Off White shows.
“Designers often express their feelings through statements in clothing, and we started to see this through spring-summer 2017. I think with all the recent events that have been going on, we’ll continue to see more statements being made by designers into next season,” said Catterall.
Harvey Nichols said its new brands for spring include Monse, which Catterall said was a name to watch, especially since designers Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia have returned to Oscar de la Renta.
Catterall has also bought Daniella Helayel’s new range of dresses in bold colors and flattering silhouettes and Maison Labiche for its accessible price points for T-shirts, sweats and knits. Ming Ray’s unique and fun bags designed with shooting stars, hearts and butterflies are an exclusive to the retailer.
New York-based Sandy Liang’s outerwear was another new buy for the team, who loved her Astro leather jacket. Katya’s Dobryakova’s denim and army jackets featuring embroideries of panthers, parrots and sassy flamingos are exclusive to the retailer.
At Browns, much of the news was in accessories: The retailer is introducing a wide-ranging series of brands as it aims to become a go-to destination for shoes and bags.
The plan is also to reinvent the jewelry offer, with the addition of more than 13 new labels, ranging from the Greek designer Katerina Makriyianni, known for her statement earrings, to the Danish-Lebanese Orit Elhanati, who blends Scandinavian design with Middle Eastern opulence, to Gigi Clozeau, which Ida Petersson, the store’s non-apparel buying manager, discovered during a trip to Tulum.
Peterssonjoined the company earlier this year from Net-a-porter, also highlighted a number of key new footwear launches, including CFDA-nominee Newbark and Fabrizio Viti, the newly-launched label by Louis Vuitton’s shoe director.
The retailer will also be exclusively launching Neous, a new footwear label created by the stylist Vanessa Antonious and the shoemaker Alan Buanne, which offers contemporary price points for Italian-made leather pieces.
Key accessories launches are in the contemporary arena, including the Istanbul label Manu Atelier, known for its moderately priced backpacks and structured cross body bags; Simon Miller’s miniature bucket bags, and Building Blocks, an L.A.-based brand with a Scandinavian spin.
Browns is also launching Medium Rare, a label offering vintage Louis Vuitton carryalls customized with humorous patches.
In terms of rtw, the retailer will launch Olivier Theyskens’ debut collection, following the relaunch of his label, on an exclusive basis.
Rtw buyer Laura Larbalestier said 12 rtw brands will be launching for spring, including Marco de Vincenzo, Magda Butrym, Attico and Racil, a London-based label which offers a fresh take on the tuxedo. Among the more off-beat launches is Maison Chateau Rouge, a Parisian label known for its African influences.
The store also plans to push major catwalk trends such as deconstructed denim, set by streetwear labels such as Off-White and Y Project; logo T-shirts by the likes of Gucci, Rosie Assoulin and Marques’ Almeida, and summer tailoring, which was reinvented in a more relaxed way by designers such as Céline, Ganni and Racil.