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Special Issue
WWD Collections issue 04/13/2015

Ken Downing, senior vice president and fashion director, Neiman Marcus: “When you’re hot, you’re hot—and Riccardo Tisci is on fire with his sensational, sizzling fall collection of Victorian dark romance-meets-smoldering Latina lovers for Givenchy. The masculine/feminine tension of flirty ruffles and flounces juxtaposed with strict, tailored jackets with built-in corsets and models sporting jet-bead moustachioed nose rings perfectly balanced the ongoing androgyny that flourished on many runways. A fortune-teller’s tale of ruby reds, Bordeaux and claret heightened the mystery of black velvet devoré and chiffon. Peacock feather prints, the symbol of immortality, only added to the mystical magic of the collection.”

This story first appeared in the April 13, 2015 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Nicole Fischelis, group vice president and fashion director, Macy’s: “Ralph Lauren’s collection was brimming with modernity and elegance and still in keeping with his brand identity. He took us from sporty to active to urban to evening and all the key moods of the season, in a palette that went from winter white to neutrals to black. There were the urban sophisticate, refined country with fringes on knitwear, ponchos and capes, Seventies with the new flared pants and lots of suede…amazing craft embellishment and embroidery and a tuxedo story with great black leather looks…great accessories—booties, wide belts, one-handle fur handbags, big, bold statement necklaces and crossover bags.”

Averyl Oates, commercial director, Galeries Lafayette: “Valentino was most memorable, with a powerful and sophisticated collection and a show to make customers dream. Signature dresses were renewed in the most feminine and romantic ways with minute detail to craftsmanship. Like many shows, there was an unexpected mix of elements and contrasting aesthetics, from bold, optic black-and-white geometry to oversize wool sweaters mixed with midiskirts, making a cool yet elegant and modern, easy-to-wear silhouette. There was a strong sense of the woman in control of her individual self-expression this season, and Valentino gave a plethora of great ideas and items to capitalize on this. The gold fox fur coats and quilted velvet coats bordered on couture pieces and made for a sumptuous end—proof that Pierpaolo [Piccioli] and Maria Grazia [Chiuri] are the best to bring grace on every single piece they create.”

Suzanne Timmins, senior vice president and fashion director, Hudson Bay and Lord & Taylor: “Lanvin was absolutely beautiful and evocative of a woman whose sense of chic is deeply real. It was seemingly a very personal collection with multilayered references to Jeanne Lanvin’s archives and Alber [Elbaz’s] Moroccan roots added a nod to his time spent at the helm of YSL. Historical connotations aside, these are desirable clothes for a modern nomad.”

Colleen Sherin, vice president, fashion director, Saks Fifth Avenue: “Miuccia Prada showed one of her strongest collections in recent memory, reflecting a sweet Sixties spirit with a complete head-to-toe look—the brooches in the hair, the long leather opera gloves, the shoes, the handbags—every piece was important. While the show was stellar, seeing the collection in the showroom took it to yet another level. Some of the embroideries and appliqués required 60 hours of work. The slightly ‘off’ color palette was sensational. I loved the cut of the trousers and the rich mix of materials, like textured tweeds and Glen plaids. From the opening statement of slim cropped pantsuits to the tunic-and-pants ensembles to the snappy Sixties coats, this collection was a hit. The final pastel cocktail dresses with jewel embellishments are sure to be collectors’ items.”

Charlotte Tasset, general merchandise manager, Printemps: “As always, Givenchy, for the infinite elegance and style of its poisonous and dark looks. What an amazing work!”

Sarah Andelman, creative director and purchasing manager, Colette: “Junya Watanabe for the incredible honeycomb pleats, his brilliant technical skills and oh-so-wearable and beautiful designs.”

Miyako Sekimoto, fashion director, Matsuya: “Stella McCartney’s basic items with modern details.”

Kazuyoshi Minamimagoe, senior creative director, Beams: “Undercover’s was the most elegant of all their past collections…even in casual styles. It was a marvelous collection that finely represents Tokyo-mode, rooted in streetwear while attaining superb elegance, matching that of luxury brands.”

Ed Burstell, managing director, Liberty of London: “In a time when all the attention is paid to the ridiculousness that has become the front row—rather than the clothes—you can rely on Karl [Lagerfeld].

His collection for Chanel was a master class. Textural tweeds, paper-thin leathers, amazing separates all designed to be current and yet stand the test of time. It is his consistent vision that makes him the most important living designer. You were looking at the clothes—nothing else.”

Keiko Nobe, women’s buyer, Sogo & Seibu Co. Ltd., Tokyo: “Christian Dior. Even while maintaining the pretty silhouettes that he has used up to now, [Raf Simons] incorporated new materials and details for a collection that was always fresh and with none of the staleness that well-established brands often have.”

Brooke Jaffe, operating vice president and fashion director, women’s rtw, Bloomingdale’s: “Prada, for many reasons: the delicious macaroon color palette, the little dresses with embellished ribbons running down the front, the new cropped pantsuits in tweeds with beautiful matching jackets—it was true Miuccia magic! I loved the way she sectioned the space into little intimate salons. The debutante hair coupled with opera gloves…no one accessorizes like Miuccia. It made me want to go for a retro updo and look for a brooch. It felt like a fresh take on fall, yet utterly Prada to the core.”

Barbara Atkin, vice president of fashion direction, Holt Renfrew: “Valentino expressed fall’s fashion message—the strength of women balanced with femininity and sensuality. It spoke to the quest for individualism and self-expression. Patchwork made the beautiful and sumptuous fabrics special, while evening wear was literally embroidered. There was also the simplicity of an unadorned white blouse worn with culottes. These are collectible pieces. It was a breathtaking collection. Then there was the unexpected Zoolander moment. The clothes were such a wow, then out comes Owen Wilson and brought down the house. ”

Kelly Golden, owner, Neapolitan Collection: “Never one to follow trends, Erdem did what he does best…and then some. His reversed jacquards, guipure lace, metallic patterned silks and needle-punching techniques resulted in an absolutely breathtaking collection. Working in frayed edges and rough-hewn tweed finishes, Erdem made sure his woman wasn’t completely flawless, making for one of his finest collections to date.”

Jeffrey Kalinsky, executive vice president of design merchandising, Nordstrom: “Christian Dior was modern, happy, real clothing that I could imagine customers wearing. I loved the prints, suitings and dresses. I loved the setting. I couldn’t be more excited for this marriage between Raf Simons and an iconic luxury brand like Dior. It seems like all the stars were aligned. I’ve loved every collection he’s done. This was one of the most pared down, but at the same time, the most exciting.”

Sebla Devidas, women’s buying director, Beymen, Istanbul: “Céline. I look into the complete picture [of a line]: pre-collection, the different categories and the fashion collection. Céline’s pre-fall was very strong in shapes and textures. Outerwear was perfectly combined with knitwear, silk shirts and dresses.…Handbags and shoes were nicely developed with novelties and classic items. Céline was innovative with textures, new colorblocking and beautiful animal sketches. The knitwear layering will also be a commercial success. It was down-to-earth, dramatic and playful at the same time.”

Tomoko Ogura, senior fashion director, Barneys New York: “Valentino was a beautiful lineup presenting the breadth of the designers’ vision from day to evening. Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli continue to carry us forward into their elegant aesthetic with a precision and craftsmanship that is especially inspiring up close. And the finale with Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson was a fun surprise.”

Beth Buccini, cofounder, Kirna Zabete: “Hands down, Valentino. The show is always a Paris highlight, and this season was no different. The clothes were absolutely breathtaking. But to see Zoolander and Hansel on the runway after that exquisite show was epic. Fashion should be fun, and boy, did we all get the magic of Valentino, plus an unforgettable laugh. I don’t know if another fashion show can ever top this one.”

Claire Distenfeld, owner, Fivestory: “Rosetta Getty. I’m really buying into this idea of specialized staples and cross-dressing, as in high-low, casual-fancy and masculine-feminine. Rosetta’s collection was all timeless staples that one can layer up or strip down. The two key pieces: the lamé patchwork sweater with gold thread that could be worn with jeans or with the gold lamé turtleneck dress, as well as the laser-cut lace wide-leg pants with an elastic waistband…I mean, can you get more genius than that?”

Laura Vinroot Poole, owner, Capitol; cofounder, House Account: “Dries Van Noten’s beautiful luxury bohemians, decked from embroidered toe to feather-flowered neck in glorious brocades, jacquards and palettes, [which were] balanced by crisp khakis, voiles and canvas. The way he celebrates women’s strength and beauty, as well as the realities of their lives, is unparalleled. The briskness with which his collections sell speaks to the power of that.”

Linda Fargo, senior vice president, fashion, Bergdorf Goodman: “After seeing 119 shows in four cities, the one collection that burned itself into my fashion heart was Valentino. It was unpredictable, layered and kept us on the edge of our seats with one look more exquisite than the last. It was clean and sharp, highly romantic, modern, historically referential. The patchworks, intarsia, unusual color mix. The most perfect cape and shirtdresses of the season. The couture-level craftsmanship in the showroom was at new heights for rtw.”

Cindy Ho, fashion director, 360 Style: “Dries Van Noten. He makes a woman look beautiful, elegant and sophisticated with his use of mix-and-match fabrics in his inimitable style.”