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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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Joan Kaner, senior vice president and fashion director at Neiman Marcus: “I think that since fall, there has been an attempt to be — shall we say — more commercial. It is definitely about femininity this season. The romantic dress is a key item. It is usually very bare on top, either with a décolleté or thin straps and halter top, and then a skirt that explodes either in pleats, godets — some sort of movement. There are also tons of novelty pants. These go from short — I especially like the rollup shorts — to cropped pants. It is a season of color and pattern, and the more the merrier. We feel very strongly about Chanel, Alexander McQueen, YSL, Stella McCartney, Lagerfeld Gallery, Martin Grant and Celine.”

Jeffrey Kalinsky, owner, Jeffrey: “I found Rochas so beautiful, it was mind-boggling. It just lifts your belief in what we’re all doing to have a talent like Olivier Theyskens making such beautiful clothing. The Rick Owens show was beautiful. And Dries Van Noten touched on all the trends of the season in a way that only Dries can.”

Sarah Lerfel, buyer, Colette: “Our key trends for summer from Paris are dresses, mini to long shirts, floral prints, yellow, green, and [ombré effects]. The fashion directions are traveling chic, from Hussein Chalayan, Bless and Y-3, new fluidity and lightness from Chloé, and a comeback of the body, as seen at Comme des Garçons, and the one-piece swimsuit, as at Yves Saint Laurent and Eva Herzigova.”

Joseph Boitano, senior vice president and general merchandise manager, Saks Fifth Avenue: “This season is a very light approach to femininity — a happy, uplifting, pretty approach. [Trend-wise], we start with a lingerie influence across the board — there was some sort of lingerie in every collection, but this was more boudoir lingerie, not vulgar, not overtly sexy. The second trend would be the whole Twenties Art Deco influence and the vintage fabrics with it. There were also crystals, either on garments or stacks and stacks of crystal bracelets. Dresses were full-skirted, waisted. The skirts were [also] full, almost Fifties-style. Another important classification was an abundance of lace. [In terms of prints,] the colors are very sophisticated. We thought Paris was very strong and that all the collections brought a lot. Chanel was an excellent collection for us.
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