At last week’s fashion trade shows in Las Vegas, designers tried to balance what they like with what women want.
In the premium denim industry, skinny black jeans slashed at the knees reigned at the top of must-have lists for consumers. That didn’t stop brands from experimenting with denim as a base for fashion-forward silhouettes. Seven For All Mankind put its focus on denim-related sportswear, such as an apron dress with a raw-edged hem and a jumpsuit with straps that crisscross in the back. J Brand introduced a capsule collection that exudes a different style from its main line. Hitting stores every month starting in December, this special grouping includes neon-tinted jean jackets and bleached denim shorts with high rises and extended hems.
Dressing for music festivals such as Coachella and Bonnaroo also inspired labels, including Hudson Jeans and Big Star, to create pieces that appeal specifically to young women who build a specific wardrobe for warm-weather fun. Lace-up details on necklines and bikinis coasted on the boho vibe oft associated with festival fashion.
Outside of the festival circuit, designers flitted between special styles that stand out and classic pieces that can be kept for years. With consumers’ preferences for mixing high and low style, retailers tend to purchase items instead of full collections. “It’s so product-driven now,” said Eric Goldstein, founder of Jean Shop, who has noticed customers pairing his $300 jeans with shirts selling for under $20 at fast-fashion chains.
Items of the moment from past seasons — including cropped pants, off-the-shoulder tops, long jackets for layering — underwent subtle changes to stay popular. Designers revamped bomber jackets with novel fabrics. The jumpsuit’s ubiquity even inspired Saint James, the French brand that has been recognized for its striped tops since 1889, to diversify by offering a one-piece in solid blue Tencel.
Colors for spring took a lighter turn: bleached indigo, muted pastels, matte sequins and shirting stripes in light blue. White lace was so prevalent that designers often mixed two or three types on a single piece or added it as a trim to other fabrics.
Above all, the common bond between the various categories was comfort. In the case of Siwy Denim, activewear coexisted with denim in skinny jeans’ tuxedo stripes, which were cut from stretchy, athletic fabric. Moreover, Oseas Villatoro crafted raw denim into an A-line dress with a cape that flowed from the back.
“In the fashion industry, beauty hurts,” Villatoro said. “I want people to feel comfortable in my clothes.”