ut special in the sense of ‘I don’t have that. I haven’t seen that. I want that.’ And [second], more of a quiet luxury.”

Sue Patneaude, vice president, designer apparel, Nordstrom:
“We believe the customer is going to react to feel-good items — things with emotional power. Even more important, our customers are expecting multifunctional purchases, and they want evening to be not quite as specific as it used to be. So with that in mind, we have an expectation that runway will be wearable and that the collections will fit. We’re very optimistic about the luxury business, but we don’t want over-the-top looks. The customer is not going to want to work too hard.
“We also believe that a successful collection will be softer, prettier, more feminine, sophisticated, but not hard-edged. We’re going to be looking for fabulous outerwear because we’re optimistic about outerwear, and it’s a great opportunity for emotional impact. We need to make customers want it, and the way to do that is to have something there that makes their heart race. I think we all know that anything that is too severe, too structured, has too much hardware or is dark in attitude feels wrong. Our job is to make people feel happy, that’s why they buy clothes.”

Jaqui Lividini, senior vice president of fashion merchandising and communications, Saks Fifth Avenue:
“We’ve identified four emerging themes as important for fall. The first is a return to earthiness, to those things that one is emotionally attached to. It’s traditional, authentic and rustic and has a tremendous amount of comfort to it. Fabrics that play into this theme include flannel, corduroy and felted wood.
“There is also a whole sense of pampering — the mind as well as the body. It’s searching for serenity, especially applied to entertaining, lounging and what to wear at home. It’s a lot of draping, wrapping, Empire waist, Fortuny pleating, butterfly sleeves and a Grecian or Roman feeling. The fabrics are cotton, tulle, cashmere, chiffon, charmeuse and silk jersey.
“Then there’s a whole movement under foot, this whole retro feeling, but it’s different from what we’ve seen in past seasons. This one is more of a mind-set than it is a journey back to a particular time and place. The influences are Japanese animation, realism, conversational prints like characters, icons, words and optical graphics.
“Finally, the Russian influence, filled with jewel tones and colors, represents a quiet opulence. The fabric is antique and watermarked velvet, brocade, tapestries, taffeta, satin, charmeuse, furs and lace. Details would include passementerie, frog closures, fringe, tassels, appliques and antique finishes.”

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