Dresses to the Rescue: Save Otherwise Safe, Chaotic Milan Season

After an underwhelming Milan season, the dress emerged as a savior and lifted retailers spirits about the feminine, if safe, direction for spring.

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  • Suzanne Tide-Frater, creative director at Harrods: "People always expect newness. I didn't expect that since there was a lot of change last season. For spring it's strong and sophisticated, a quiet femininity and not so over-the-top and showy. That for us is fantastic. The key piece is the dress. We really did like Burberry Prorsum and Dolce & Gabbana, although it changed a bit its direction with a slightly romantic slant. Fendi became really strong, really sophisticated. Etro was particularly feminine. It was strong and sophisticated and didn't rely so much on its ethnic past. Roberto Cavalli didn't necessarily innovate this season but he played to the strength of what the customer wants from him. Overall, I saw a more simple femininity which in the seasons to come will gather speed in the marketplace."

  • Akito Naohara, general manager for luxury brands, jewelry and watches at Takashimaya Co.: "My first impression generally speaking is that it's very normal, calm and easy to sell. It's very calm, clean and pure, but a bit sexy and elegant. The color palette is white and beige. There are a lot of lace and pleats. Dresses are major items. Roberto Cavalli was my favorite. He's a typical Italian designer. It's very sexy and it becomes elegant. We would like to start to do business with him. Prada was very clean, it's not decorative but the detailed part is very delicate. I was impressed by Marni and Ermanno Scervino. Marni is easy to coordinate with the jackets, skirts and knitwear."

  • Kal Ruttenstein of Bloomingdale's: "The Prada collection was the best in a long time, and nobody else looked like her. There were great jackets and great colors at Giorgio Armani. And Dolce & Gabbana for their 20th birthday was a fun presentation."

  • Anna Garner, fashion director, Selfridges: Given a general lack of excitement in clothing, Garner said she would probably increase the accessories buy. While citing a "complete move away from jewelry," she said belts, patent and metallic leathers, and wedge and platform shoes were strong foils for white and nude-toned clothing. Other key items include trenchcoats, shorts and blouses with puffed sleeves. She praised Prada and Miu Miu for a sophisticated, new direction, Fendi for a "great, focused show," Etro and Burberry for sophisticated styles and Dolce & Gabbana for "a very strong show and a strong collection."
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