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Basics Take Backseat As Mod Styles Ignite Early Selling for Fall

It’s shaping up to be a Mod, Mod fall. As stores report fall business is off to a strong start, there are rumblings of an economic upturn.

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Visits to Target stores in Massachusetts showed the Minneapolis-based retailer is also offering schoolgirl-style shirt-and-vest combination shirts, as well as lots of autumnal-toned corduroy from Mossimo. A contrast is Isaac Mizrahi merchandise in acid-brights like lime, fuchsia and red.

“It’s so bright. I was a little disappointed this is what he sent us,” confessed a female store associate, directing a customer to Mizrahi’s merchandise. The line featured oversized “big shirt” styles last seen topping stretch pants in the Eighties, denim pants with elastic waist and snap-front knit tops. Mizrahi’s butterscotch suede A-line skirt and matching wrap jacket — noticeably more subdued than the rest of the offering — appeared to be selling well. The single unit left on the rack was a size 16.

Corduroy pants and men’s wear-inspired skirts are bestsellers at Knoxville, Tenn.-based Goody’s Family Clothing, said junior divisional merchandise manager Barbara Mesecke. Popular bottoms moving fast this month include five-pocket corduroy pants by L.E.I. and Bongo, striped knee-length skirts by Tracy Evans and patterned pants by Jou Jou.

Denim bottoms continue to drive sales at Blue Genes, an Atlanta boutique, said partner Jane Arrendale. Key denim items for early fall include stretch and nonstretch denim roll-up pants and side-lace jeans by Joe Jeans and pre-rolled cropped jeans by Juicy Couture. Denim jackets were also among strong sellers for late August, with tailored, waist-length distressed leather bombers by Development and faux fur flight jackets by Mint moving fastest in that category.

In traditional jeans, best-selling brands are Seven For All Mankind and newly acquired resource Chip and Pepper. Other popular items include wool-blend stovepipe-styled skinny pants by Catherine Malandrino and Mod-inspired miniskirts in textured corduroy by Development.

Asian-inspired pieces are checking at A Nose For Clothes, a nine-unit specialty shop based in Miami, said partner Freda Greenbaum. Current hot items include Mandarin collared T-shirts by Michael Stars and Asian-themed printed and embroidered silk skirts and dresses by A.B.S.

In Washington, the weather is still hot and humid and the whisper of fall is not yet in the air, but consumers are still buying early fall merchandise across the board.

Fabiana Mesquita, an owner of two contemporary stores, Daisy and Daisy Too, said, “This season it’s a lot of tweeds and Mod is definitely selling for us.” Mesquita said she can’t keep Mod items, such as a black traditional miniskirt with 4-inch pleated bottoms from Miss Sixty, in the store. “We sold out of that skirt in two weeks and I’m looking for more,” she said.
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