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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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New brands for spring Nordstrom is buying include Brian Reyes and Willow.

  • Jeffrey Kalinsky of Jeffrey called spring one of the most beautiful seasons ever. "The buy is going to have to be bigger this spring, and last spring was a strong one," he said. "Fall started out pretty strong. I think the general mood for me as a buyer is optimistic."

    Standouts: Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs and Oscar de la Renta. "There was so much to love at Marc's show. Project Alabama and Behnaz Sarafpour were strong. Narciso Rodriguez was beautiful. When I saw the show, I thought, 'What a joy to be part of the world called Libertine.' What a great show, what energy." Kalinsky is also picking up Brian Reyes.

  • Scott Tepper, fashion director and divisional merchandise manager of apparel, accessories, and lingerie at Henri Bendel, was grateful that American designers didn't go fully, shockingly into minimalism and praised the variety of trends. "We realize, however, that this season requires a strong edit in order to avoid a matronly or an overly beige feeling on the floor," he said.

    Standouts: "Brian Reyes, Richard Chai, and Rag & Bone all shared an uptown-downtown sensibility that speaks to our customer. Doo.Ri was simply flawless. In a very beige season, her presentation was fresh and luxurious. Diane von Furstenberg delivered another terrific collection and her interpretation of volume was by far the most wearable we've seen. Brian Bradley at Tuleh forced us to consider a more intellectual approach to what feels modern in fashion."

    Tepper said the best was saved for last: "Gwen Stefani made our week with her very powerful L.A.M.B. collection ... [and with] the evolution and expansion of the line for spring. Especially relevant to us were the military coats, cashmere cardigans and evening clothes."

  • Elizabeth Gorman, owner of Mix in Houston, said the store has seen a 25 to 30 percent increase since January and she's expecting similar increases next spring.

    Standouts: Roland Mouret, Boudicca, Jeremy Lang and Michael Kors. Lang and Brian Reyes will be new to the store next season.
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