Byline: Deirdre Mendoza

For summer, junior retailers are after ladylike dressing that’s a bit rebellious, with girl-meets-boyish looks, such as a jaunty fedora or tailored trousers. And retro continues to rule, whether it takes the shape of closed-toe shoes and vintage bags from the Forties to bold, Eighties-style jewelry.
Fashion looks are heating up the denim market, trickling down from the designer tier. New washes, patchwork and leather accents are creeping into low-rise and boot-cut staples.
In accessories, flashy details endure: sexy belly chains, glitter belts, sequined slides or big, sparkly broaches.
Fleetwood Mac’s fantasy looks — taking a cue from Stella McCartney’s ethereal Chloe designs — will keep T-shirt airbrush artists busy. On the footwear front, buyers are steering away from platforms toward flowery slides and flats.
Last but not least — will the much-heralded HotPants be a hit? So far, the jury’s out.

Lisa Paulus, buyer, Ambiance, San Francisco
“Key trends for holiday include leather, anything in camel or chocolate brown, and sweaters. That’s what’s driving my business, and I see all those [continuing] through summer in lighter weights.
“I see knit tops versus wovens. I’ll be looking for great novelty bodies with prints. Halters will be making a comeback. Floods and capris will continue, but with a print or zipper. “The Forties retro scene is where I’m seeing signs of life…as in close-toed shoes, U-neck sweaters with a tie, pretty florals and a romantic feel. Lace will become important again this summer.
“We’re a strong dress store, so I’ll shop for great prom dresses. Color is going to remain strong in the eveningwear business, as opposed to the little black dress.
“I’m looking for accessories direction. Gold and silver are strong, and we’ll see jewelry get bolder, like in the Eighties.”

Barkley Hope, owner, Barkley Hope: Items for a Princess, Los Angeles
“I want to see the spring-summer version of the fedora. You see a heavier version worn by Kid Rock’s girlfriend [James King].
“We carry Sergio Valente jeans which are high-waisted, but I want to go lower. I’m looking for a lot of accessories, moving far away from the overdone crystal fad. It will be interesting to see how long gold lasts.
“In hair accessories, [the market] hasn’t moved forward in the last year. We did the ice cube [ponytail holder], and that went nowhere. Madonna didn’t successfully bring back the cowboy hat. And the basic streetwear handkerchiefs? Those lasted a minute. I’ve been looking for some hairpieces you would stick in your bun. Hair jewelry — that’s what I’m interested in.
“Handbags have gone nowhere lately. I think that’s because we’re just saturated with designer stuff — Gucci, Fendi — and people aren’t buying the $100 bags.
“With T-shirts, something has to happen away from the cutesy graphics. The look of the new millennium has been cute jeans, cute heels, jeweled-up T-shirts. I’m wondering if all of this embroidering will lead to a movement [toward] simplicity.
“I see flats for summer 2001. I want to get as far from platforms as possible. Slides are going to be the most powerful look. I’d like to buy short-shorts. I’m dying to find leather short-shorts and leather skirts. I just love leather.”

Minh Nguyen, women’s buyer, The Rag Factory, Santa Monica, Calif.
“Designers are trending into denim, and that’s very strong for us going into summer. For summer, I think they’ll catch onto the boyish trouser. That’s a sexy look with a muscle T-shirt or a lace tank.
“I do see miniskirts and HotPants. There will always be beach girls who will buy them. Some of the girls in Southern California have those perfect bodies. But not everyone will. Just because they have fake boobs, doesn’t mean they’ll wear HotPants.”
“Dresses are about that whole “Sex and the City” thing that Patricia Field is doing. It’s a soft look, with pretty prints.
“As for accessories, there’s a Fleetwood Mac thing happening with vintage pieces and airbrush T-shirts. I’ll buy patchwork if I can find it with a finer fray on a skirt, but nothing too obnoxious.”

Jen Isaacson, sales manager/buyer, Retro Viva, Seattle
“I’m planning to buy clubwear, including halters, miniskirts, little jackets and fitted muscle Ts with embellishments. I thought gold would be stronger for the junior market.
“I buy very close to season because our customer is unpredictable. We’re into layering, and I buy heavier-weight fabrics, even in summer. We’ll sell tanks year-round, but we’ll also sell hoodies in the middle of summer.”
“The low-rise denim boot-cut jean will not stop. Skirts are to the knee or shorter, and we’re doing more of the distressed, dirty denim. Patchwork does not work here. I think I can nail the look I’m looking for this summer: the short dirty-denim skirt with lace-up knee-high boots that have the striped basketball sock showing out of the top of the boot, the belt hanging off the hips, red skinny glitter belt and the [men’s undershirt] tank. “People will not buy shorts to save their lives here, but maybe clam-diggers. I can tell you that HotPants don’t fly.”

Michele Campbell, buyer, Jacqueline Jarrot, Beverly Center, Los Angeles
“Astrological signs are huge on belly chains, necklaces and T-shirts and will continue going forward. In handbags, it’s doggies — poodles, really. And vintage bags with handles from the Forties and Fifties. I’m also seeing camouflage done with a twist. Brooches, big and sparkly, are happening.
“Teenagers to twentysomething customers are buying sequin slides from Mystique. We’ll be buying more for summer 2001.

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