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WWD Collections issue 11/19/2012

Retailers aren’t always on the same page when it comes to the best collections of a given season. One thing they did agree on is that spring—especially the Paris leg—was among the most intriguing in recent years. The spotlight certainly shone on Raf Simons of Dior and Hedi Slimane of Saint Laurent, as they offered the riveting story line of two gifted men’s wear designers boldly competing on the Paris stage for the women’s nod. But they didn’t get all the glory.

This story first appeared in the November 19, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.


Colleen Sherin, senior fashion director, Saks Fifth Avenue: “The much-anticipated debut collection for Christian Dior by Raf Simons was a genuine highlight of the fashion weeks for spring. He managed to infuse the brand with his sensual, minimalist aesthetic while remaining ever true to the heritage of the house. I believe he exceeded all expectations and launched Dior into the 21st century.”


Ken Downing, senior vice president and fashion director, Neiman Marcus:Proenza Schouler. Jack [McCollough] and Lazaro [Hernandez’s] masterful collage of fabrics, intense, bold color and digital prints made this the most exciting collection of the spring season.”

Barbara Atkin, vice president of fashion direction at Holt Renfrew, Canada: “My favorite is Saint Laurent Paris, simply because Hedi Slimane redefined sexy in one of the most edited collections of the season. He rebooted the brand, yet was respectful of its heritage by offering a perfect blending of the sharp tailoring that Hedi is known for and the diaphanous femininity of chiffon blouses and dresses made famous in the Seventies. It is easy to identify the girls that will lust after these clothes—edgy, cool, effortless and sexy.”

Daniella Vitale, chief operating officer and senior executive vice president, Barneys New York:
“Overall, the shows and collections were absolutely invigorating, but Dries Van Noten was my favorite. Even after being home for three days, I have not stopped thinking about it. It was true Dries, with a youthful, modern elegance. His colors, proportions and the way each piece was layered to look as if it had been put on without a trace of hesitation. We saw hints of grunge throughout Europe, but he did it so effortlessly and subtly it was hard to compare.”


Tiziana Cardini, fashion director, La Rinascente, Milan: “If I had to pick one collection out of all the spring 2013 fashion weeks, it would be Celine.”

Linda Fargo, senior vice president, fashion office and store presentation, Bergdorf Goodman: “Best of show is never an easy question….But the best overall collection would have to be Proenza Schouler. It felt the most resolved, confident, envisioned and exciting. Jack and Lazaro are perfecting the balance of cool yet sophisticated, luxury with edge, editorial-worthy yet reality-ready. Add to all that the incredible craftsmanship and execution of exciting, innovative design. What more can you ask for? Oh! And the price-to-value [ratio] was excellent, too.”

Tracey Cheng, merchandise manager for women’s wear, I.T Apparel Ltd. stores, Hong Kong and China: Jean Paul Gaultier was something more than just a fashion show. With mirror balls and dancers showcasing all the Eighties pop-stars’ iconic styles from Madonna, Michael Jackson, David Bowie, ABBA and more….And, of course, having Amanda Lear as finale, it was definitely a party with enjoyable moments.”

Nicole Fischelis, group vice president and fashion director, Macy’s: “Dries Van Noten, because he integrated with grace a lot of new currents in one collection. For example, the spirit of individualism, with not only a new edge on feminine-masculine but also the idea of fusion, with new embellishment, unexpected print combinations, interesting fabrics or mixed media, a poetic color palette and…through all of this, the perfect wardrobe with all the key items for spring.”

Jeffrey Kalinsky, executive vice president of designer merchandising, Nordstrom: “Our favorite collection was Saint Laurent Paris. Hedi Slimane did a magical job of capturing the spirit of Saint Laurent while making the clothes perfect for now. [There were] so many options for our customers—great jackets with gold buttons, cocktail dresses, evening dresses, skinny pants, leather and suede—and all are so covetable and desirable.”

Suzanne Timmins, fashion director, Hudson’s Bay Co., Toronto:
“Proenza Schouler. Ten years on, this duo just keeps getting better and better. Their spring show was so energetic and vibrant. I loved the way they referenced digital-age art throughout their collection, creating a brand-new 21st-century aesthetic.”

Sarah Rutson, fashion director at Lane Crawford, Hong Kong: “It hands down goes to Dior….Raf Simons’ contained, refined and honed tailoring paved the way to the house’s iconic signatures, which were reborn in new materials and revived techniques from a bygone time. Iridescent volumes on new short proportions showed cocktail styles that were modern again, a bold use of colorblocking and finishing with the full skirts that Raf has been working with for a number of seasons now that is so Dior. His reinterpretation of the Dior brand for today’s woman and life could not have been more brilliantly, delicately and respectfully done.”

Stephanie Solomon, vice president of fashion direction, Bloomingdale’s: “My single favorite collection from the spring runways was Christian Dior. Raf Simons set the stage for a new direction for the way women will dress this coming season. In that one show, he brought the word chic back to its original meaning with the chic black pantsuit, the black coatdress, the ball skirt and the peplum top. It was a blockbuster and a game changer. It was so beautifully balanced. It was awesome to watch.”

Melissa Liebling-Goldberg, women’s editorial director, Gilt Groupe:The 3.1 Phillip Lim collection brought me back to all my adolescent yearning for layers of floating plaid. Add the subversively luxe motorcycle jackets and overalls, and I was hooked. The accessories also looked extra strong in the collection, with floral patterns and metallic finishes on handbags standing out.”

Anne Maria Jagdfeld, owner, Departmentstore Quartier 206, Berlin:Prada. Because Miuccia Prada’s new collection is an expression of modern sentiment and feeling. Her flower prints are far away from sweetness and nostalgia but existential and timely.”

Tancrede de Lalun, merchandise manager for men’s and women’s wear, Printemps:Balenciaga, for striking a perfect balance between creativity and wearability. The show provided a vision of where fashion is heading, while being a good summary of the trends we saw across the collections. It also displayed a continuity in style over time, which we salute.”

Pascale Camart, director of women’s wear, Galeries Lafayette: “The return of Dior. It was a modern collection that bore all the hallmarks of the brand, of luxury, of femininity, in the spirit of the times.”

Sarah Easley and Beth Buccini, owners, Kirna Zabête: “Our favorite collection for spring was—drumroll—Dior. In such a dramatic season of anticipation, cat fights and fashion history in the making, Raf Simons’ breathtaking debut collection lived up to the hype.”