LOS ANGELES — Skinny jeans, oversize sweaters and pretty dresses scored among buyers at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Smashbox Studios here. They were busy scanning the runways for the next big thing.
Denim brands made a global impression, with edgy new takes on jeans and fashion-forward sportswear pieces alike. Contemporary designers sent out slouchy knit tops and leggings that were immediately identified as potential hot sellers. And up-and-coming talent in the designer category proved that sophisticated, dressy items like pleated frocks and tailored jackets also have their place in the international fashion landscape.
Here are what buyers rated as some high points:
Michael Fink, senior fashion director, Saks Fifth Avenue
“This was my fourth visit to L.A. Fashion Week. There were few bright moments….Punk attitude was a major statement from the denim-based brands. The play of volume was most interesting in full dresses or voluminous sleeves on jackets and knits. Romantic blouses and covered legs were terrific when they popped up. All of these trends will excite our customers, and this is how you will update your wardrobe.
“In particular, I want to review the lace overlay dresses from Kara Saun and the yellow bubble dress and beautifully pleated dresses from Octavio Carlin. Other thoughts: The color and print mixing at Corey Lynn Calter was fantastic, the knits at Oligo Tissew were works of art and David Meister sent out a beautifully executed show.”
Marigay McKee, fashion director, Harrods
“Denim and T-shirts have become such a huge part of the business. We liked the new fashion range at the Rock & Republic show — very sexy tailoring and fur-trimmed jackets. We come [to L.A.] twice a year to check out cool denim lines. The fit is sexier than in Europe; it’s tighter on the legs and longer. We carry brands like Rock & Republic, Antik Denim, True Religion and C&C California in an area we created six months ago called L.A. Rocks.”
Mimi Kang, buyer, Kitson
“The jeans at Yanuk and Taverniti So shows were very edgy and rock ‘n’ roll. There were a couple of good skinnies [skinny jeans] with pockets that I’m considering. We also might try out the Neo by Taverniti leather jackets. I think they’re very fresh and very cool.”
Lisa Rinna, owner, Belle Gray
“At Jennifer Nicholson, I loved some of the print dresses: really sweet yet edgy, and would look great with cowboy boots. I don’t carry her now, but I will be ordering those dresses for both of my stores.”
Lindsay Johnson, buyer, Tracey Ross
“We already carry Ya-Ya, and this time I’ll order the oversized sweaters with leggings. I think everyone, everywhere will be wearing them for fall. I also went to Corey Lynn Calter and Louis Verdad and liked them both. Even though we may not carry a line, Tracey likes to stay in the know of what’s happening locally.”
Caryn Fettner, women’s division manager, M. Fredric
“The skinny-leg jean has come back bigger than before. I felt like I was back in the Eighties. The Antik Denim that we’ve carried in the past was very basic compared to what they just showed: the skinny leg, the details on pockets, including studs and stones. I can definitely seeing us getting Antik, because we’ve done well with the brand.”
Alisa Loftin, owner, Aero & Co.
“At Morphine Generation, there were some key pieces — military capes and trenchcoats. There was one piece in particular, a plaid skirt that was draped in the front, that I thought was a really great piece. At the Unhee show at Gen Art, I loved the wrap jumpsuit called the ‘elephant shortie.’ It’s a short jumpsuit that you wrap around your waist and has big sleeves that look like elephant ears. You can mold the sleeves into whatever shape you want. It’s a perfect piece for L.A.”