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The Long, Hot Season: Buyers Applaud Spring But Gripe About Shows

A brutal show schedule with many off-site venues; hot, humid weather, and snarled traffic as a result of the United Nations summit left retailers feeling...

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Standouts: She expects Proenza Schouler and Thakoon to help maintain the store's growth. "Roland Mouret was incredibly beautiful and design at its finest. It was an amazing lesson in dressmaking. Zac Posen showed his most mature and sophisticated collection yet, and Tuleh's dress with a black-and-white pattern on one side and magenta and orange on the other was a standout."

  • Lavelle Olexa, senior vice president of fashion merchandising at Lord & Taylor, said, "From all the gypsy-inspired looks and frills that were so prevalent, the collections moved to a more refined elegance that will find a great deal of acceptance with a broad range of customers. Designers presented beautiful collections with more emphasis on fit and tailoring. The dress continued to dominate runways. Pants were short and elegant."

    Standouts: The metallic taffetas at Nicole Miller; Bill Blass' pantsuits; Yeohlee's addition of jeans to the mix; Oscar de la Renta's embellished jackets, and Joanna Mastroianni's shorts.

  • Michael Fink of Saks Fifth Avenue said the week was "very consistent. Everybody is on the same trend — polished dressing for a woman instead of a girl. They have revived the word 'chic.' New York rarely sets the trend. It gives us very wearable clothes, different from creating a spectacle as the European designers do."

    Fink said the runways were filled with dresses, from wide halter designs to Empire dresses, and they were lightweight, with cotton chiffons, lace trims, and crochet. He also saw plenty of high-waisted pencil skirts, usually paired with simple chiffon camisoles or sleeveless blouses. "This is a perfect Saks season —more polished and sophisticated."

    Standouts: Calvin Klein for innovative dresses, interesting skirts and an overall modern and wearable look; Oscar de la Renta for slim daytime suits and cocktail dresses with a new volume, and Marc Jacobs, for clean silhouettes, sometimes architectural, and manipulating fabrics with pleating, knotting and exaggeration.

  • Jennifer Wheeler, director of designer apparel at Nordstrom, found plenty of newness and called the season fresh. "Roland Mouret, Donna Karan and Vera Wang looked great," she said, also pointing to the coats at Libertine, Michael Kors' collection and Francisco Costa at Calvin Klein, which she, too, termed "a watershed collection" for the designer.
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