Retail Heaven: Buyers Laud Paris for Commercial Creativity

Retailers love Paris when it sizzles, as it did for spring 2004. The season rollicked with femininity and creativity, and best of all, they say, it will sell.

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NEW YORK — Retailers love Paris when it sizzles — and it did for spring 2004. The season rollicked with femininity and creativity, and best of all, they say, it will sell.

“It was one of the best seasons in years,” declared Barbara Atkin, fashion director at Canada’s Holt Renfrew chain, summing up the opinion of many international buyers as Paris wound up a marathon of fashion weeks on a high note.

“It has been a very good season,” agreed Joan Kaner, senior vice president, fashion director at Neiman Marcus. “We’re very optimistic. Paris had all the ingredients of what our customer is looking for: femininity, color and pattern.”

Praising runways chockablock with commercial pieces — without any shortage of creative sparks — they cited jackets, dresses, shadow prints, novelty pants and color among the top trends and Chanel and Alexander McQueen among the best collections.

Here’s what they had to say about the season:

Linda Dresner, owner, Linda Dresner, New York and Birmingham, Mich.: “Paris was pretty — and commercial. We’re finding wonderful jackets everywhere and I really feel that’s a trend making a comeback. The beautiful colors will also be appreciated: the greens, teals, pale yellows and metallic shades. We liked very much the evening dresses from Stella McCartney, the sophisticated evening dresses at Rochas and the jackets from Rick Owens and Viktor & Rolf. There’s also lots of wonderful dresses — everyone will be thinking about wearing a dress again.”

Robert Burke, vice president and senior fashion director, Bergdorf Goodman: “Paris was strong. I thought it was very focused on couture elegance and a new sense of femininity. It was more creative than in the past and very fresh and Parisian in inspiration. Two shows that stood out were Alexander McQueen and Chanel. McQueen put out a brilliant collection that showed a great deal of evolution and showed that he is one of the strongest designers anywhere. And Chanel was brilliant. Karl [Lagerfeld] can do no wrong. Both of these collections were so well balanced and detail obsessive — but in a most feminine and modern way.”
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