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“Women of substance and style,” are what inspired Lisa Axelson, Ann Taylor’s senior vice president of design, for fall. Inherent to that statement and the Ann Taylor brand is professional women and what they wear to work. Axelson has been pushing that category in a more fashion-forward direction for several seasons, here with a departure from the suit. She worked with clean, graphic separates — a white blouse with a black peplum, a slim, knit pencil skirt and a jacket that snaps up around the collar. Colorblocking and full-leg trousers were also key, and sporty outerwear with huntsman and hardware details countered by touches of femininity, like a lace skirt and polkadot blouses, diversified the line. And for the company’s cutting edge customers, a capsule leather and knit collection, which includes a square-cut T-shirt and leggings that are leather in the front and stretch knit in the back, will be carried in Ann Taylor’s top three stores: Rockefeller Center and upper Madison Avenue in New York, and Michigan Avenue in Chicago.

This story first appeared in the April 1, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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