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Special Issue
WWD Collections issue 11/11/2013

WWD asks retailers which single collection of the season they liked best, and why. A global array weighs in.

Colleen Sherin, senior fashion director, Saks Fifth Avenue:
“Chanel was a true highlight. With an awe-inspiring stage set chock full of Chanel art, created by Karl Lagerfeld himself, the audience was able to interact and engage with the brand well before the show even started. This artful happening culminated in a spot-on collection brimming over with enough covetable pieces to keep any Chanel collector very happy.”

Linda Fargo, senior vice president, fashion office and store presentation, Bergdorf Goodman:
“It’s a great tribute to the overall season when choosing one collection above all is so difficult. However, Céline keeps bubbling up to the top. It was so memorably vibrant and energetic, and a little shocking in the context of Phoebe Philo’s more minimalist leanings. You know when something’s a game-changer when you want to eradicate your closet and restock it with a new vision like this.”

This story first appeared in the November 11, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Barbara Atkin, vice president of fashion direction, Holt Renfrew: “Dries Van Noten was a favorite this season. We have offered this collection at Holt Renfrew for over 26 years. More than ever, his clothes speak to the times we are in and to the women who wear them: strong, powerful, individual and incisive. Dries offered a beautiful homage to artistry, with each individual item becoming collectable art. These clothes were emotional, special and a true tour de force. Pieces transcended day into night, and reflected the melding of seasons.”

Ken Downing, senior vice president and fashion director, Neiman Marcus: “In a season of many captivating collections, selecting one is not easy an task. Many designers delivered on the dream of the runway that will become the reality of a women’s wardrobe. One collection is indelible in my mind: the ethereal, effortless elegance of the lace-lavished collection of Peter Copping for Nina Ricci. Feminine flourishes shared the spotlight with sharp tailoring, bringing a balance and beauty to his collection that defines the season. Peter’s sensual silhouettes that celebrate the women were released in fluttery hems of sheer genius. It was the perfect mix of delicate and daring, for a women who is just that.”

Jennifer Cuvillier, style director, Le Bon Marché: “Givenchy was the statement show this season. Riccardo Tisci succeeded in transporting us into his universe with an atmosphere filled with a tribal vibration and exoticism. He showed new silhouettes and color palettes for novelty items, great new sandals and amazing sequined goddess dresses.”

Miyako Sekimoto, fashion director, Matsuya: “I think [Miuccia] Prada showed us a new direction. It’s a combination of sports and art…She showed the concept in such a modern way.”

Daniella Vitale, chief operating officer and senior executive vice president, Barneys New York: “So many good ones. It’s really difficult to pick just one, but Joseph Altuzarra was my favorite this season. While there are many more to come, this was arguably his best show to date. I always feel uncomfortable saying ‘effortless’ because I am certain the designers feel quite the opposite, but the collection and Joseph seemed really at ease and so in tune with the way we want to dress. The minute the first exit came out, I knew it was great. The clothes fit so beautifully, the mix of materials and proportions was incredibly fresh. The whole show and the actual collection up close were just perfect.”

Suzanne Timmins, senior vice president, fashion director, Hudson’s Bay, Toronto:
“Loved Lanvin! Alber Elbaz really knows how to make women shine. Those luxurious metallics resonated with a feeling of lightness and energy. How fitting that a first-exit silky T was emblazoned with the word ‘dream.’”

Jeffrey Kalinsky, executive vice president of designer merchandising, Nordstrom: “Chanel. It was perfect. Everything about it was perfect: The set, the music, the clothes, the ideas. It was like everything kept coming at you. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, it got better. There were so many messages from the accessories to the shoes to the clothes. The clothes were very modern and everything looked very new—off-the-shoulder jackets, cold-shoulder dresses, backpacks and sock-shoe booties. It was all very wearable. I could see our customers in it. There were a million ideas and they were all good.”

Kelly Golden, owner, Neapolitan Collection: “Dior. From the amazingly beautiful setting of the show with layers upon layers of orchids, wisteria and other colorful flowers surrounding the runway, to the brilliant bursts of colors and prints on the runway, Raf Simons continues to inject a fresh and modern twist at Dior. The sideways pleating, unusual color combinations and updates to Dior classics were beautifully done. His cocktail dresses were the best in Paris. He even made the classic cotton shirtdress look sexy, fresh and modern. And all the looks were beautifully accessorized, from the wisterialike crystal necklaces to the cutout colorful pumps.”

Laura Larbalestier, buying director, Browns Fashion: “Dries [Van Noten]. He’s the master of reinvention. I have never seen such beautiful ruffles. The show offered us a complete wardrobe to wear for spring.”

Helen David, women’s wear general merchandise manager, Harrods:
“Valentino’s phenomenally talented duo produced yet another sensational show, this time with the same North African inspiration we have seen elsewhere this season. Every piece was spectacular, from the brightly embroidered gowns to the lace minidresses and lust-worthy fringed croc totes. These were the types of dresses and gowns that you’d want to make your entrance in—and you’d certainly be noticed. The craftsmanship was unbelievably intricate. This was Bohemian elegance at its best.”

Paula Reed, fashion director, Harvey Nichols: “The highlight of my visit to the Big Apple has to be the Altuzarra show. The French designer was assured with a very modern glamour, which I think is going to be very popular next season.”

Natalie Kingham, head of fashion,
“It’s always hard to pinpoint one runway show as I have so many favorites, but its always exciting to see Christopher Kane. He never disappoints, and spring was no exception. I just wish there was a rerun as I wanted to see it all again.”

Tracey Chang, women’s fashion merchandising manager, I.T, Hong Kong: “Simone Rocha. I always love her, but this season, her collection evolved. I loved the pearl detail that created elegance and sophistication. Yet, the playful usage of new fabric—like embroidery on plastic, Neoprene and glossy coated cotton laces—conveyed a young and unconventional style. My favorite pieces were skirts and dresses with ‘bites’—that’s what Simone calls them—and also the jelly shoes with pearls. Simone not only creates her signature dresses, but this season she managed to add easy pieces of knitwear and T-shirts, which [make] the collection complete.”

Nicole Fischelis, group vice president and fashion director, global forecasting, Macy’s: “Dries Van Noten was totally individualistic. Every season it’s a new story with him. The workmanship that goes through his clothes is exceptional and there’s a lot of artistry. He has a strong point of view. He makes beautiful clothes. There’s a degree of poetry and fantasy. It’s all there, and yet, the clothes are wearable, innovative and beautifully executed. He’s a real master of craft. It was a moment of perfection and beauty.”

Brooke Jaffe, operating vice president and fashion director for women’s ready-to-wear, Bloomingdale’s: “Chanel was my favorite collection this season. The show was a celebration of art and that is exactly what this collection was, wearable art. Several elements blew me away, specifically how Karl modernized shapes and proportions and reinvented Chanel once again. The high-low hemlines on dresses, cropped sweaters and off-the-shoulder suits were inventive. I enjoyed seeing the reinvention of the cardigan and the celebration of longer skirt lengths. There is an all-black dress with a cutout midriff and lace overlay that is the most fantastic take on the midriff story we’ve been seeing. I’m personally dreaming about this one. His fantastic use of optimistic paint strokes and plentiful use of hot pink rang a very happy cord for all of us. He made eveningwear new with shorter lengths and the most beautiful and artful embellishment with pearls. The oversize pearl necklaces featured with almost every look were the perfect finishing accent and again updated the look for 2014. The spaghetti-strap dress with the paint-stroke motif and white lace detail on the hem and top of the dress is my dream dress for next season. What a show. Bravo!”

David Rubenstein, vice president and general merchandise manager, Jeffrey New York:
“My single-favorite collection is Céline. The show had an incredible energy. The collection is constantly evolving, and Phoebe is always pushing the needle forward. Spring 2014 was no exception, and her fashion show was nothing short of mind-blowing. The collection was happy, vibrant and fun, but also chic and sophisticated. Everything just felt so new. The plissé skirts worn with knit tunics and the explosion of color and pattern were unexpected and flawlessly executed. It all just seemed like what women will want to wear.”

Tracey Lomrantz Lester, women’s editorial director, Gilt: “Jason Wu returned to his roots this season with a collection that was supremely elegant with just the right touch of sex appeal. For the past few seasons, fashion seemed to believe that a woman couldn’t look both ladylike and cool simultaneously, but Wu single-handedly busted that myth with this collection.”

Tancrède de Lalun, merchandise manager for men’s and women’s wear, Printemps: “Céline. After revolutionizing fashion four years ago, Phoebe Philo needed to renew herself and she did it with brio and talent. It’s within the continuity of Céline, yet she opened a new chapter with fresh propositions in terms of shape, fabric, color and the treatment of color. What is especially interesting to me is that, given that she is a trendsetter, she is going to inject fresh energy into a lot of contemporary and designer fashion brands that will be able to use color again, not just as color blocks, as we saw three or four seasons ago, but in a new approach to prints that will evolve from the figurative or digital patterns we have seen recently toward mixed colors, with great bags too. She opens up a world of possibilities for all the brands over the next few seasons, and what I like is that she was able to take a risk and reinvent herself exactly when she needed to.”

François Schweitzer, general manager fashion and retail, Chalhoub Group: “Dior. A modern interpretation that mastered the Dior style in its color codes and classic silhouettes. The elegance of a collection created for the contemporary woman, punctuated by subtle touches of strong color—green, yellow, orange, blue—that were light against a black background and refreshing against a white backdrop to underline femininity.”



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