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Instant Reaction: What Clicked in Europe

Top retailers sound off on the best collections and up-and-coming designers.

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Charlotte Olympia Dellal

Photo By COURTESY OF BRAND

Michael Atmore and Manolo Blahnik

Photo By Katie Abel

Sophia Webster

Photo By Katie Abel

Tabitha Simmons

Photo By Mosha Lundström Halbert

Top retailers sound off on the strongest collections from Europe.

 

Rebecca Farrar-Hockley
Creative & buying director, Kurt Geiger

Overall outlook: “Fall will be a great season for luxury shoes as we open the 41,000-sq.-ft. “Shoe Heaven” department with Harrods. We will triple the size of the ladies’ shoe department with many new boutiques and unique shop-in-shop concepts.”
Favorite collections: “Standouts came from shoemakers, particularly Manolo Blahnik, Gianvito Rossi and Giuseppe Zanotti. We are also excited by the energy in shoes from the French houses, in particular Givenchy, Céline and Saint Laurent.”

Jenny Sung
DMM, On Pedder
Overall outlook:
“Shoes are definitely the most exciting category this season. We are seeing great new developments across both ready-to-wear brands and [traditional] shoe players.”
Must-have trends: “There have been great military and Western-inspired elements through the interesting new developments in hardware and stitching. I loved a lot of art-deco elements from Christian Louboutin and Nicholas Kirkwood. We’re also seeing a lot of pop-inspired styles.”
Favorite collections: “It was interesting to see flats on a lot of runways — Alexander McQueen and Comme des Garçons, for example. There are quite a number of new-generation ready-to-wear brands, such as Peter Pilotto and Mary Katrantzou, developing complementary, but interesting shoes. The most exciting was Moschino. Its McDonald’s collection was very different from anything else.”

Suzanne Timmins
SVP & fashion director, Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor
Overall outlook:
“It’s all about the boot. I’m excited about the variety of heel heights, and we’re starting to see changes in toe shape. It’s a little bit more squarish, even round in some cases. In terms of beautiful shoes, Givenchy and Dior stood out. Even though there were so many boots out there this season, consumers still want shoes, too.”
Favorite collections: “Nicholas Kirkwood’s breadth of assortment stood out. He’s really owning the categories now without losing the sexiness [he is known for].”

Erin Cerrato
Director of women’s footwear & leather goods, Holt Renfrew
Favorite Collections:
“There were very consistent themes with [key] luxury materials such as fur, snake and crocodile. Standout collections included Gucci, Prada, Fendi and Tom Ford. We look forward to continued growth with brands like Balenciaga, along with Roger Vivier, Manolo Blahnik, Salvatore Ferragamo and Valentino.”
Stars on the rise: “Aquazzura, which launches this spring at Holt Renfrew. We look forward to continuing to grow our assortment with the introduction of new silhouettes.”

Alberto Oliveros
Head buyer, Level Shoe District
Overall outlook:
“Fall ’14 looks like a strong commercial season. It’s a little on the dark side [colorwise] for our region, but it focuses on great basic silhouettes and some strong must-have pieces.”
Must-have trends: “The wider offering of medium and low heels is exciting. Comfort, paired with feminine appeal, has been well developed by designers. Paul Andrew, Rupert Sanderson, Gianvito Rossi and Nicholas Kirkwood created perfect examples of classics with a twist. The designer sneaker trend is bigger than ever, and major brands such as Chanel, Céline, Giambattista Valli and Lanvin are expanding their sneaker collections.”
Favorite collections: “Nicholas Kirkwood proved his extraordinary talent and created his most sophisticated collection yet, but still with the ‘Kirkwood twist.’ His pre-fall ‘eye’ story was playful and fun, but his main collection is really elegant and chic. Alexander Wang’s runway boots were distinctive and a true statement piece. Azzedine Alaïa [is still on top] with his technique and attention to detail.”
Stars on the rise: “Paul Andrew’s bright collection caught my eye in a winter where black is so predominant. And Edgardo Osorio created his strongest collection for Aquazzura so far. Sophia Webster’s collection was again playful, colorful and full of life.”

Jennifer Sidary
Head of Zappos Couture
Overall outlook:
“Fall ’14 will be an incredible luxury footwear season. The designers have produced a variety of options for the customers, from stunning high heels to the most wearable flat boots. I’ve seen many flat footwear styles that have amazing detail. The brands also are offering a lot of black, which we know is a best-seller.”
Favorite collections: “I was quite impressed by Yohji Yamamoto, Vivienne Westwood Gold Label, Comme des Garçons and Jean Paul Gaultier. Off the runway, I was excited by Giuseppe Zanotti.”

Ed Burstell
Managing director, Liberty London

Overall outlook: “We are cautiously optimistic. Because we cater to an 80 percent local clientele (and 20 percent tourists), our girl is a little cooler and she’s looking for something different than what the other London department stores have.”
Favorite collections: “Manolo Blahnik, Saint Laurent and Nicholas Kirkwood. Isabel Marant and Acne are still doing very well.”

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