Heavy, voluminous coats, sweater dresses and chunky cable-knit sweaters took on a heightened relevancy on the runways as fashion executives struggled to navigate the snow and slush of New York Fashion Week. But even the miserable winter weather couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of retailers for the fall collections.
This story first appeared in the February 18, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“So many designers were presenting collections that you want to wear now,” said Tomoko Ogura, senior fashion director at Barneys New York. Barbara Atkin, vice president of fashion direction at Holt Renfrew, said, “We’re seeing what we want to wear right now. I need that fur scarf, I want the Marc by Marc Jacobs boots.”
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Several retailers identified the trend of “urban warriors” or “urban survival” on the runways, which mirrored what was happening outdoors. “Women were going into fashion week worried, ‘How am I going to layer up?’ ” Atkin said. “This season, you see the melding of seasons.” That was evident in the heavy coats or sweaters thrown over lightweight fabrics, such as Michael Kors’ chiffon dress worn with a heavy cardigan. “Our closets are filled with light and heavyweight fabrics,” Atkin said. “It’s all in the mix. New York spoke to that in a very strong way.”
Here’s what retailers had to say:
Ken Downing, senior vice president and fashion director, Neiman Marcus
Favorite collections: Victoria Beckham, Narciso Rodriguez, Rodarte, Alexander Wang and Prabal Gurung.
Favorite trends: “Jog pants and tweeds and laces injected with metallics. The global wanderer where designers took inspiration from cultures such as India, Guatemala, Japan and China and gave it a modern attitude. Also knit dressing and ponchos.”
Sound off: “Gray is very pretty, but the customer loves color. We found color and are still looking for color. We’re hoping to see an embrace of color in London. Many collections with oversize clothes that all but forgot about the female form.”
Jennifer Cuvillier, style director of Le Bon Marché
Favorite collection: “Proenza Schouler was the most exciting show of the season with high-tech fabrics and vivid colors.”
Favorite trend: The artistic touch with beautiful novelties in terms of fabrics, patterns, prints, drawings and 3-D effects.
Must-haves: Novelty shearling in color; multicolored patchwork coats, and oversize jackets.
Up-and-coming talents: “Opening Ceremony and Phillip Lim are fresh and easy with new silhouettes. Edun was great with the new designer direction.”
Aymeric de Beco, chief merchandising officer and head of buying at Printemps
Favorite collection: “Victoria Beckham, luxurious fabrics, perfect coats. Feminine yet sharp. We’re opening a shop-in-shop for her on Feb. 28.”
Favorite trends: Luxurious coats and strong pops of color.
Trend I’d like to see go away: “The mule bootie.”
Colleen Sherin, senior fashion director, Saks Fifth Avenue
Favorite collections: Michael Kors, Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, Jason Wu, Oscar de la Renta, Derek Lam, Altuzarra, Marc Jacobs and Alexander Wang.
Favorite trends: “With a focus on luxe layers and an emphasis on rich textures, New York has put us in a warm and cozy mood for fall/winter 2014. The polar vortex has been designers’ number-one muse this season.”
Must-haves: Shearling jackets and vests; sculpted, round-shouldered jackets and cocoon-shape coats; bomber jackets; novelty knitwear culottes and gauchos, and fringe.
Up-and-coming talent: Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin of Tome presented a strong collection.
Ed Burstell, managing director, Liberty of London
Favorite collection: “Alexander Wang. Well worth the trek to Brooklyn. The show was a masterwork of fabric technology mixed with modern utilitarian detail.”
Favorite trend: Reworking of outerwear, from work jackets at Rag & Bone, Victoria Beckham’s vintage-inspired modern coats, Phillip Lim’s shearlings, The Row’s stunning sweepers and Altuzarra’s wool coats with electric accents.
Trend I’d like to see go away: “Brown. It rarely looks good on anyone!”
Helen David, fashion director, women’s wear, accessories, fine jewelry and children’s wear, Harrods
Favorite shows: Victoria Beckham, Carolina Herrera, 3.1 Phillip Lim and Marc by Marc Jacobs.
Favorite trends: “Last season’s tailoring was given a feminine twist with organza hemlines and chain closures. The lean pants were very wearable and elegant. The boyishness of last season was replaced by sophisticated tailoring that was flattering and commercial.”
Linda Fargo, senior vice president, fashion office and store presentation, Bergdorf Goodman
Favorite collections: Prabal Gurung, Michael Kors, Rodarte, Proenza Schouler, Diane von Furstenberg and Marc Jacobs.
Favorite trends: “Winter white was a favorite color, and coats were strong in every collection. Knits, shearling, fur, suede and double-face were favorites as cozy materials. Simplified luxurious sportswear and modern tailoring.”
Sound off: “We would like to see more shows back at Lincoln Center.”
Brooke Jaffe, operating vice president and fashion director for women’s ready-to-wear, Bloomingdale’s
Favorite shows: Band of Outsiders, Marissa Webb, Narciso Rodriguez, Ralph Lauren, Alice + Olivia, Michael Kors and Marc by Marc Jacobs.
Favorite trends: “The biggest message is going to be about mixing fabrics and textures. Big, cozy chunky sweaters with texture paired with something soft and fluid. Longer lengths, shine and sparkle, fluid pants and culottes.”
Up-and-coming talents: Band of Outsiders, Wes Gordon and Marissa Webb. “I’m excited about the newness Luella Bartley will bring to Marc by Marc Jacobs.”
Barbara Atkin, vice president of fashion direction, Holt Renfrew
Favorite collections: Marc by Marc Jacobs, Alexander Wang, Phillip Lim, The Row and Oscar de la Renta.
Favorite trends: Heavy coats and sweaters thrown over lightweight silk and chiffon dresses, parkas, furs, fluffy furry sweaters, the belted waist, dresses over pants.
Must-haves: Generous coats; bomber, biker and sleeveless jackets; big, chunky-knit oversize ski sweaters; fuller pleated pants and track pants in dressed-up fabrics, asymmetric midcalf-length skirts.
Up-and-coming talents: “Public School. We bought it for men’s wear and I was excited by what I saw for women’s wear. Jonathan Simkhai, we’re getting behind him. We’re watching Hood by Air and Rosie Assoulin.”
Tomoko Ogura, senior fashion director, Barneys New York
Favorite collections: The Row, Baja East, Public School — “we’re eagerly waiting for the introduction of women’s.” Also, Pas de Calais, Protagonist and R13.
Favorite trends: The slouchy look, wider trousers, oversize outerwear, knits, more forgiving coat silhouettes and forest green.
Must-haves: Prabal Gurung’s chunky waffle- and cable-knit sweater, Edun’s striped herringbone wide-leg trouser, Thakoon’s striped turtleneck capelet, Public School’s cape, Altuzarra’s double-faced coat, Pas de Calais’ sweater coat.
Sound off: “The logistics are crazy, but because it’s been such a strong season, I’m able to be forgiving about all that.”
Suzanne Timmins, senior vice president, fashion director, Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor, Toronto
Favorite collections: Alexander Wang, Prabal Gurung, Proenza Schouler and Donna Karan.
Favorite trends: Utility and survival references, urban parkas, high necks, layering details, multiple pockets and big knits.
Must-haves: Big knits, full trousers, novelty skirts, something gray and roomy coats.
Up-and-coming talent: “I loved the Protagonist collection. It was relaxed, modern chic.”
Jeffrey Kalinsky, vice president, designer fashion director, Nordstrom
Favorite collections: Alexander Wang, Joseph Altuzarra, Proenza Schouler and Marc Jacobs.
Favorite trends: Fur-trimmed pieces, midcalf skirts, puffy jackets and heavy knitwear.
Must-haves: Anything fur, including a scarf, hat or fur-trimmed parka.
Up-and-coming talent: “We were excited about the debut of Public School’s women’s collection.”
Sarah Rutson, fashion director, Lane Crawford, Hong Kong
Favorite collections: Victoria Beckham, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Alexander Wang and J. Crew.
Favorite trends: Winter white and flashes of bold color, more tailoring worn with a soft sweater and skirt or pants.
Trends I’d like to see go away: “Brown, it never sells, especially in our market. Asymmetric hemlines won’t translate to anyone but a niche group.”
Must-haves: A beautifully tailored coat and a cozy, slightly oversize sweater with a soft midcalf skirt.
Sound off: “Perhaps there are some brands in the contemporary area that really don’t need to be doing fashion shows.”
Nicole Fischelis, group vice president and fashion director, global forecasting, Macy’s:
Favorite collections: Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Calvin Klein and Vera Wang.
Favorite trends: The new take on men’s wear, loosening proportions, the leisure feeling, winter florals, an array of plaids, lots of shine and metallic in colors.
Must-haves: Two-piece sweater sets with pencil skirts, fit-and-flare skirts, longer silhouettes, moto and bomber jackets, men’s wear coats, crewneck sweaters and track pants.
Up-and-coming talents: Timo Weiland, Alexandre Herchcovitch and Clover Canyon.
Khajak Keledjian, founder and chief executive officer, Intermix:
Favorite collection: “Proenza Schouler felt very fresh and forward.”
Favorite trends: Men’s wear, wide-leg pants, vests, suiting fabrications, plaids and pinstripes with a modern edge.
Must-haves: Rag & Bone’s men’s wear jacket with red contrast, Phillip Lim’s patchwork shearling and leather coat. Veronica Beard’s Neoprene-bonded leather biker jacket.
Up-and-coming talent: “We started carrying Marissa Webb this season.”