NEW YORK — The return of glamour and color in the collections here and in Europe were given a warm welcome by U.S. retailers making their picks for fall.
A spot check of department and specialty store executives in New York and some other cities revealed that collections were perceived as strong and well defined. A number of retailers expressed a sense of relief that not everything was in black, that brightness was back and that fashion was fun again.
Among the trends they say are expected to generate the most business are short A-line skirts, dresses and suits, kilts, lots of texture, from mohair and alpaca to fake fur and tweeds, and color — particularly brights and neons.
Fall offerings “illustrate the return of shape, color and the antithesis of last year’s collections, which were too black,” said Kal Ruttenstein, senior vice president of fashion direction at Bloomingdale’s.
“It’s a very interesting moment in fashion right now, with the return of glamour, like short, bright, sexy evening dresses,” said Barbara Weiser, executive vice president of Charivari.
Following is a selection of fall highlights:
Kal Ruttenstein, senior vice president of fashion direction, Bloomingdale’s: Ralph Lauren’s plaid mohair mini kilts, at $365, are “the best” in market.
“Short kilts are around, but not in mohair, so Lauren gives the look added punch,” he said. “Shown with a leather gurkha, at $895, this look could become a fall uniform for the Ralph customer.”
The sheer net “skin” dress from Karl Lagerfeld is a top candidate for fall, as well as the colorful Chanel jackets with fake Mongolian fur trim.
Ruttenstein also cited Victor Alfaro’s pastel Empire minidress, in tissue-weight wool, at $785, as another strong look reflecting several trends: short, A-line, pastel and body-skimming.
He tapped Donna Karan’s fluorescent pink jacket in wool and velour, at $1,350, as a key item to be “combined with anything in your wardrobe that is black to make it look new.”
Ellin Saltzman, senior vice president and fashion director, Bergdorf Goodman: Trends include feathers and fake furs, shearlings, brights, down coats in a variety of lengths; kilts; mohair; angora and brushed sweaters, and feather trim, which was seen on a lot of eveningwear.
Bergdorf’s picked Donna Karan’s pink jacket and some fake furs from Isaac Mizrahi and Marc Jacobs, down coats from Mizrahi and DKNY, and kilts and mohair sweaters from various designers, including Ralph Lauren.
Joseph Cicio, chairman and chief executive officer, I. Magnin: The store placed orders for the short suit from Chanel and Jil Sander, the short trench coat from Calvin Klein, fake furs from Isaac Mizrahi and shearlings from Donna Karan. Backpacks, dresses and multicultural looks are expected to be hot. Nicole Fischelis, vice president and fashion director, Saks Fifth Avenue: Topping the list of hot items for fall are the asymmetric dress from Donna Karan, the new length dress and short jacket from Calvin Klein, fake fur from Byron Lars, whimsical tailoring and military overtones from Richard Tyler, a plaid peajacket and skirt at CK Calvin Klein, the short suit with brightly colored charmeuse blouse at Mizrahi, the short coat over a dress or suit from Bill Blass and DKNY’s neon outerwear.
Louise Mackenzie, general merchandise manager, Henri Bendel: Key trends include texture — alpaca, mohair, nubby wools, tweeds and boucle — the A-line shape, winter white and lots of color.
“Colors like fuchsia and electric green are fun,” Mackenzie said.
She also cited A-line shapes from Genny, Giorgio Armani and Claude Montana; the short alpaca jacket with A-line skirt; a bright cashmere sweater with camel skirt; a short wrap leather skirt with alpaca sweater from Michael Kors, and kimono jackets and prints from Jean Paul Gaultier.
Joan Kaner, senior vice president and fashion director, Neiman Marcus: Hot items include Gianni Versace’s short A-line pastel suits in boucle and tweed and the A-line white boucle or earth-toned tweed from Dolce & Gabbana. From Donna Karan, Kaner cited the dark chocolate fitted, curved jacket with high-buttoned neck and 23 1/2-inch skirt (at the knee); neon pink jacket with black skirt; black raincoat with pink neon lining, and down coats in neon brights. She also liked the floor-length and short coats at D&G in fake leopard and cheetah.
From Mizrahi, she picked the plaid taffeta evening skirts in brights; from Marc Jacobs, shearlings in bright colors, and from Blass, asymmetric coats and the yin-yang suit in black and cream striped satin.
Benny Lin, fashion director, Macy’s East: Fake fur trim on suits and color, from pastels to brights, are key trends. The short jacket and A-line skirt suit will be an important look.
Lin said Macy’s is buying coats and dresses from Calvin Klein, Anna Sui’s neon brights and Todd Oldham’s jackets and skirts embellished with fake fur. There will be some tailored suits from Anne Klein.
“We’ll be experimenting with the new knee length, but mostly we’re sticking to the short A-line silhouette,” Lin said.
Barbara Weiser, executive vice president, Charivari: “Must-haves this season include something fuzzy — a sweater in mohair, alpaca and cashmere, either short and cropped or long and full; fake fur, or a boa. Color, particularly the browns to beige, cream and ecru, dusty pastels, brights from American designers, which looked better than the Europeans, and the romantic darks, like burgundy, forest green and teal.”
She said suits are short and flirty or men’s wear inspired. Charivari will have some new knee-length skirts, mainly from Europe, but favors either very short or very long skirts.
Hot items include Prada’s military suits; short skirts and short tweed suits from Dolce & Gabbana; Japanese prints in kimono jackets and capelets from Yohji Yamamoto; Dries Van Noten’s prints and long skating skirts, and Chinese prints from Gaultier.
Bill Dodson, president, Lilly Dodson, Dallas: Key trend items are Oscar de la Renta’s wool boucle asymmetric jackets over double-faced wool skirts in parfait colors; Todd Oldham’s blue, yellow and red argyle-print slipdresses and long gowns; Joanna Mastroianni’s pale pink four-ply silk cocktail suits, and Mizrahi’s “Marx Brothers” slouch jacket, fuchsia silk shantung blouse and paper-bag pants.
Joan Weinstein, president, Ultimo, Chicago: Hot trends are short, flippy and A-line skirts and kilts and shorter jackets, especially a Richard Tyler suit with a mohair jacket and A-line tweed skirt. She also liked the shearlings and fake furs from Mizrahi and a dress by Isabel Toledo in four layers of different colored matte jersey.
Mary Hughes, vice president, and Shelley Sams, senior buyer, Dayton’s, Hudson’s and Marshall Field’s: Top looks here include Calvin Klein’s new lengths; Ralph Lauren’s Nordic looks, such as a Fair Isle sweater and tweedy jacket; coats, especially shearlings like Mizrahi’s pink shearling stroller, and “ancient-inspired” pieces, such as Mary McFadden’s Buddha halter dress.