What to expect in stores from the spring runway shows
Retailers from Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdales weigh in on the trends, which include longer hemlines and vibrant hues.
From Lanvin, fluid, sheer fabrics and to-the-floor hemlines. (Jones Gustavsson and Peter Stigter / For The Times / September 3, 2008)
Now that the spring runway shows are over in New York, Milan and Paris, it's up to department store fashion directors and boutique owners to package the big ideas. Chanel's garden party, Balenciaga's punk brigade and Marc Jacobs' 1970s show were all memorable on the runways, but will they make it to store racks?
Here, retailers offer their takeaways from the season, and ideas about how the trends might trickle down to you.
Ken Downing, senior vice president and fashion director, Neiman Marcus
Big idea: The vintage Yves Saint Laurent effect, fueled by the major YSL retrospective exhibition that just closed in August in Paris. On the runway, designers nodded to Saint Laurent's rich peasant look, Orientalism and "le smoking" [his signature tuxedo].
Must haves: Fluid, sheer fabrics and longer hemlines (just above the ankle or to the floor) as we saw at Lanvin, and wide-leg trousers and a white pantsuit with Bianca Jagger swagger. The tuxedo jacket, it's not just evening wear anymore. For accessories, it's all about flat sandals because as a woman begins to add longer hemlines to her wardrobe, flat sandals work best with the new proportion.
I'm also loving what I'm calling the "Helmut language" [a reference to Helmut Lang's utilitarian designs from the early 1990s], and the idea of adding a sporty attitude to dressed-up clothing using color-blocking, buckles, straps or parachute fabrics.
Will punk take to the streets? Not now. We just cycled through a moment when the 1980s were really influential, along with strong shoulders, so punk doesn't look new to me. But where it ends up, we'll have to watch the runways to find out.
Colleen Sherin, fashion market director, Saks Fifth Avenue
Big idea: The color story. Bold, bright, vibrant color worked into color-blocked effects and combining colors in unexpected ways.
Must haves: A longer-length skirt or dress as seen at Donna Karan and Proenza Schouler in New York, D&G and Fendi in Milan and Chanel in Paris. Open-weave knitwear in natural white, ivory or beige crochet, macramé, mesh or fishnet, as seen at Rag & Bone, Alexander Wang, Jason Wu for Tse, Alberta Ferretti and Celine. And a crisp poplin shirt. We saw it with slouchy wide-leg trousers and skirts for a pared-down look. We also saw it as a play on masculine and feminine at Balenciaga, Stella McCartney and Celine. A trench coat looks great with a longer hemline peeking out. I love the sheer organza ones at Phillip Lim and Christian Cota, and the matte python trench at Emilio Pucci.
In terms of accessories, fringe is everywhere — on handbags, jewelry and scarves. A shoulder or flap bag is key because it fits into the 1970s trend, as does a pair of platform wedges.
Will punk take to the streets? Not in a big way. We've done that trend recently with leathers and studs and grommets, and not enough time has passed to go back. But it may be something we will touch on in our contemporary department.
Stephanie Solomon, fashion director, Bloomingdales
Big idea: Color and print. And this is a serious shift because we've been in love with black for so long.
Must haves: A dress or skirt with a hemline hovering around the knees or below. In New York, Alexander Wang, Diane von Furstenberg, Derek Lam, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors and Rebecca Taylor all had great longer lengths. In Milan, we saw it at Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Jil Sander and Roberto Cavalli. Sometimes these longer skirts have asymmetrical hems or slits, which we saw at Fendi, Yves Saint Laurent, Lanvin and Stella McCartney.
It sounds like a myth that hemlines matter, but they do because when you go longer, you have to change your shoes and you have to change your coat. You need flat, wedge or platform sandals. And the long trench coat is chicest with this length. I'm also liking boyfriend jackets over longer skirts.
Will punk take to the streets? In a way. You have to have the rock 'n' roll element, otherwise it would get too boring. I would take a studded leather jacket, something that looks worn and torn and ragged from Burberry Prorsum or Givenchy, and put it over a really frothy feminine dress like we saw at Dior. That dichotomy looks right. Or you can be a punk one day and a virgin the next!