HIT LIST
WWD’S GUIDE TO ESSENTIAL TRENDS. FOREMOST FOR FALL: DENIM THAT SHINES IN MANY GUISES, A SLEEK SPECTRUM OF LEATHER, SMART SUIT DRESSING, AND COATS THAT CARRY THE DAY.

Byline: Kristen Carr

It’s Riveting
Denim jeans with a smooth, iridescent sheen will be a fixture on the holiday party circuit.

The jeans jacket remains a must-have, for dressing up or down.

Dark-and-dirty flares are everywhere — take your pick of strong-selling versions from Diesel, Iceberg, Big Star, Mavi, Edwin and Lucky Jeans.

THE BUZZ: “The lower the rise, the better,” says Sharon Segal, owner of a self-named denim store in Fred Segal Santa Monica… “We’re looking for key items like low-cut sexy pants and creased denim,” says Khajak Kelejdjian, owner of Intermix…Robert Jezowski of Macy’s East sees good things for Levi’s five-pocket silhouette and corduroys — an early sign that the company’s coming back?

The Skinny
Designers from Donna Karan to the Gap are showing a rainbow’s worth of leather, in red, pinks, yellows, electric blues and even metallics.

Leather jeans in ANY shade, so long as they’re skintight. (Jim Morrison would approve.)

Whether they’re thigh-high and barely legal or primly ruffled below the knee, leather’s showing up in skirts of many lengths. Our favorite: Tahari’s almost A-line, knee-length number in peony pink.

THE BUZZ: Neiman Marcus reports that 80 percent of its outerwear is being driven by leather…Even in steamy Dallas, Stanley Korshak can’t keep Armani Collezioni leather pants in stock…leather jackets in a range of colors are flying out of Neiman Marcus…Leather is a material our customers say they want to see more of, says Kal Ruttenstein, fashion director of Bloomingdale’s.

Power Surge
Suits are back in force, as women decide that they want to dress up again at work.

The fitted, miniskirted suit mercifully remains a thing of the Eighties. This fall, styles are less structured, more flowing, with skirts hitting mid-shin.

Traditional men’s wear fabrics — herringbone, tweeds, or pinstripes — have great crossover appeal.

Trim is in: Look for suits edged with leather or fur.

THE BUZZ: Gregg Marks, president of Kasper ASL, sees skirt suits coming on strong…”Suits are selling like crazy. The business is truly amazing,” says Neiman Marcus vice president and divisional merchandising manager Gerald Barnes…”The season of the suit,” declares James Aguiar, rtw fashion director at Bergdorf Goodman, citing Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Jil Sander and Dries Van Noten as top sellers.

Out Is In
This season, coats aren’t just for protection from the elements; they can help pull a look together, thanks to stylish cuts and lighter fabrics that can be worn more comfortably indoors.

Coats are echoing suit trends, in terms of fur and leather trims, and lots of tweed.

Leather looms large: Kenneth Cole, Cole-Haan and Bill Blass all have their standouts, while Burberry’s double-breasted leather trenchcoat’s a major hit.

Wool and cashmere blends are being cited as bestsellers by major department stores virtually across the board.

THE BUZZ: Bill Blass president and ceo Michael Groveman expects the coat biz to be up by over 100 percent for fall…Traffic report from Lord & Taylor: Leathers are flying, while wool and fur trims are moving briskly, according to Lavelle Olexa, senior VP for fashion merchandising…Sellouts for fall at Harve Benard include 40-inch cashmere jackets, fake anaconda and “Fony Pony” trenchcoats, reports president and head designer Bernard Holtzman…”Buy two or three [coats] this year, and buy them now,” warns Julie Gilhart, Barneys’ vice president of fashion merchandising. “I haven’t seen a season like this in years.”

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