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Special Issue
WWD Collections issue 11/14/2011

Retailers pick their favorite collection of the season.

Colleen Sherin, senior fashion director, Saks Fifth Avenue:

“My favorite collection of the season was Alexander McQueen. Sarah Burton blurred the line between haute couture and ready-to-wear with this exceptional collection that appeared to be inspired by mermaids and other sea life. Not only was it mesmerizing as it walked the runway, but it was even more magical upon further inspection in the showroom. The incredible details and handcraftsmanship were exquisite.”    
Jeffrey Kalinsky, executive vice president, designer merchandising, Nordstrom:

“I would say my favorite collection for spring was Dries van Noten. I love prints and Dries’s photo prints were amazing, but what made Dries my favorite collection is that he has the ability to create art in his collections, but give buyers individual pieces that will take them anywhere and remain valid in their closets for years. This is something few designers can do, and, in my opinion, Dries did it the best this season.”

Amanda Brooks, women’s fashion director at Barneys New York:

“We saw so many outstanding collections this season, it is impossible to single out just one favorite collection. We are however, particularly excited about our exclusive launch of Maiyet for Spring 2012.”

This story first appeared in the November 14, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Nicole Fischelis, Macy’s group vice president and fashion director:
“One of my favorite collections was Gianbattista Valli. I think he really related to the young glamor girl. His collection made us even more excited about launching a collaboration with him in November. Valli’s collection represented most of the spring/summer trends such as sensuous feminine color, the importance of shimmer and irridecense, special embellishments and mixed media — how he combined all his different patterns and prints. His silhouettes are basically very pure, the embellishments are always a surprise and his accessories, multiple bangles and sexy chain shoes will be must-haves come spring. Even the show itself had a magical mood with special lighting.”

Beth Sheperd and Sarah Hailes, co-owners, Kirna Zabete:

“Balenciaga really spoke to us. Nicolas [Ghesquière] nailed the color and print trend we always love, but in such a fresh and exciting way — with new silhouettes. A nearly impossible task.”

Nevena Borissova, president, Curve, with stores in Manhattan, Los Angeles, Miami and
San Francisco:

“My favorite collection was Augustin Teboul. It’s two young girls, one German and the other French, who graduated together from Esmod Paris. One worked for Yohji Yamamoto and the other worked at Jean Paul Gaultier and you can see glimpses of that in their work. The collection is so innovative because each piece brings two different emotions: dark, yet feminine, rock & roll, yet romantic, all at the same time. It’s very different than what’s going on in fashion right now and feels very new to my eye. Plus, the aesthetic of the photos and the imagery really drives the meaning of their brand.”

Averyl Oates, buying director, Harvey Nichols, London:
 “The Alexander McQueen collection was by far our favorite collection of spring. It was an absolute pleasure to buy. Harvey Nichols has long been the destination for Alexander McQueen and based on current sales, we are predicting the spring/summer 2012 season to be a favorite for our customers. An exhibition of couture at its best, the underwater-themed collection was seductive and extremely feminine. The color palette in shades of gold, coral, lilac, silver and cream, strategically broken up with almost sinister shades of black, ensured the signature McQueen twist of darkness. The couture headpieces worn on the runway were extraordinary, appearing as if they had grown out of the dresses. Couture set the theme for the rest of the collection: colorways, prints, (barnacles, mother of pearl, anemones), all flow down to commercial options. This ensured that, when selecting the pieces, options at all price points tied together, and will provide the client with multi-faceted access to the Alexander McQueen collection.”

Ruth Runberg, buying director, Browns, London:
“For the second season in a row, Ann Demeulemeester was my favourite show experience. Last season, even as an avowed color-lover, I was swept away by the romance of Ann’s black-feathered and laced collection, particularly with the show set to pianist Erik Satie’s gorgeous, haunting ‘Trois Gymnopedies.’ This season, she referenced the romanticism of the desert region of Northern Africa, one of my favorite parts of the world. The sheer, layered silk gowns floating across the sand runway were mesmerizing.”

Anne Maria Jagdfeld, owner, Quartier 206, Berlin, Germany:
“My single most favorite collection is clearly that of Tomas Maier for Bottega Veneta. This collection displays great artistic craftsmanship. Everything is worked and printed by hand, there are extraordinary materials and unusual finishes. Technology and handicrafts come together here. The Bottega Veneta collection is extremely special, a collection for devotees and connoisseurs. The exceptional, however, is always very well received by our customers.”

Klaus Ritzenhöfer, owner, Apropos, Cologne, Germany:
“We have to mention Tom Ford and his bravura women’s collection. Tom Ford is just a genius when it comes to harnessing a womanly figure and creating a haute couture concept of dressing clients who all demand luxurious fabrication and construction. Let’s not forget his great marketing ability. Starting at a highly elitist level, he is now becoming slightly more commercial in look and his prices have been adapted to the market by 20 percent to 30 percent. He’s still keeping up with the exclusivity of his persona and the high-voltage glamour of his collections by distributing them at very selected spots, among the, luckily enough, Apropos.”

Christine Chapellu, director of women’s wear buying, Le Bon Marché, Paris:
“My favorite collection for summer 2012 is Véronique Leroy. I loved her silhouettes, which were extremely feminine, sober and ultra-chic, and the modernity of the proportions. Her shift dresses and white cotton shirts, her long full skirts in variations of knits and cottons and her zebra stripe prints all made for a true summer collection. It was both strong and delicate, like the designer herself.”

Ed Burstell, managing director, Liberty, London:

“Alexander Wang, for continuing to refine his vision of street chic meets detailed couture design. A must for every cool girl on the planet! And a sure bet at retail!”

Liliane Jossua, founder, Montaigne Market, Paris:

“My favorite collection is  [Azzedine] Alaïa. He is a fashion genius and a man who loves women and makes them look good. This season, he introduced into his collection strong colors such as red, as well as pastel shades like rosewood, sky blue and parma violet. The cut of the dresses is perfect, you just want to slip them on and walk off with the lot! His collections transition seamlessly from season to season. They are timeless and yet totally unique.”

Pascale Camart, director of women’s wear buying, Galeries Lafayette, Paris:
“Without any hesitation, Phoebe Philo at Céline was my favorite collection. Her pared-down style, her volumes and choice of colors made this show a unique event. Maybe also because there were no prints, giving her show an even more individual flavor. She is growing in assurance and is gradually carving out her own territory. The association of white, pine green and burgundy on a pleated leather skirt was superb. Céline creates a simple, sculptural and elegant silhouette, namely with its airy white sleeveless top paired with stiff white trousers overlaid with black silk mousseline. Céline is also about accessories and shoes. Phoebe Philo again delivered the ‘It’ items of next season with her strappy compensated shoes and the four-color flap bag. They are ‘need-it-now’ items and for that matter and they’re already garnering press coverage.”

Marion Heinrich, owner of eponymous multibrand store, Munich:

“My favorite collection is, as always, [Azzedine] Alaïa. One can wear Alaïa from morning till night — his designs look chic during the day worn with ballerina flats, and sexy and glamorous with high heels in the evening. The new collection is timeless and perfect, impressive for summer with its soft colors and love of detail. For me, Azzedine Alaïa is one of the greatest fashion designers of our time. As simple as his dresses are, they skillfully underscore the femininity of every woman.”


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