DESIGNERS ALWAYS HAVE THEIR OWN far-flung notions about what’s in and what’s out. But rarely are they compatible with the average Josephina’s idea of what’s in and what’s out. Thumb through Vogue, Bazaar, or W if you need proof.
For spring, designers offer plenty of sporty anoraks, parkas, and ponchos (made, curiously, of silk), paratrooper pants (also in a silk faille), and cargo pants (made of cashmere-and-suede). They’ve dubbed the look “utility chic,” but how utilitarian is outerwear in fussy fabrics?
The season’s hottest pants have a wider leg and hit mid-calf; slim-fitting capris stop anywhere from the ankle to the knee; assorted Bermudas and surf pants appear as new. But who exactly is supposed to wear them?
Or, for that matter, the season’s full skirts? They provide lots of volume-just what we all need-through an assortment of design tricks (pleats, crinolines, stiff hems, and plenty of fabric). But are these flattering even on the blessed among us?
And then there are the of-the-moment hip-slung skirts, appliqued bluejeans, and cropped, drawstring peasant blouses by high-priced designers who are offering up such styles under the heading of “hippie chic.” Has anyone noticed they are geared to an audience with a budget that’s more Gap than Gucci?
Ultimately, it’s the retailers who look at the fantasy fashions coming down the runway- the often-impossible silhouettes, the unforgiving lines, the unflattering colors-and sort through what’s wearable and what’s not (or, more to the point, what will sell and what won’t). With this season’s blending of luxury and utility, of fashion and anti-fashion, we wondered: What do local retailers see as the key look for spring?
We asked around.
” Our focus is garden party looks: details such as multicolored embroideries, three-dimensional embroi-deries, tonal embroideries, or prims. We’re seeing very soft, flowing, pretty georgette skirts with twin sets.”
-Gail Holloway, divisional merchandise manager for dresses and suits, Dillard’s, multiple locations.
“Spring is very simplistic. The excite-ment is in all the options a customer is given: skirt lengths that go from short to above the knee, below the knee, and to the ankle; pants that go from wide-legged and cropped to Bermudas, capris, and clam-diggers. It’s what Narciso Rodriguez calls ’the unsuited suit,’ a three-quarters-sleeve top with a slim, above-the-ankle Dant.”
-Cynthia Joyner Denton, women’s European buyer, Stanley Korshak, Crescent Court.
” The whole season is really about key items. It’s about taking a chino skirt from Michael Kors and mixing it with a satin bustier from Dolce & Gabbana, or pairing an ankle-length beaded skirt with a men’s T-shirt, Juxtaposing chino with satin or a skirt of marbleized beading with a men’s T-shirt is a much more modern, more item-driven way of developing your own personal style.”
-Shelle Bagot. general manager and women’s buyer. Ultimo, Highland Park Village.
“For me, separate pieces look great for spring. A red superfine cotton stretch tube is modem over a fatigue side-zippered skirt. A silk canvas zip-front blouson jacket paired with an ivory stretch skirl creates the new suit. We’re pushing forward the look of American sportswear.”
-Designer Calvin Klein, (he Calvin Klein boutique. Highland Park Village.
“Capri pants are very where. The close-to-the-body, flat-front pants in a million different fabrics are worn with everything from T-shirts layered underneath jackets to blousons to big shirts and wonderful white shirtings. Every designer is doing them.”
-Bill Dodson, owner, Lilly Dodson, Highland Park Village.
“Chiffon skirts with little sweater sets and strappy sandals. Everything is flowing and knee-length and sexy in an innocent, feminine way, We’re seeing pastels and cream, pinks and lavender. It’s almost the girl next door- casual, but dressy casual, not slouchy casual, sexy, but feminine. We’re getting back to more of a sweet, femi-nine time.”
-Michell Escobar, store manager. Tootsies, The Plaza at Preston Center.
“We’re offer-ing more than the suitings, which have always been a strong point. The suitings have taken on the newness of the iridescence and the slightly less constructed look. The long skirts have dits ail the way around them, and that’s made to order for hot weather climates like Dallas. That goes along with the lack of structured tailoring that is a hallmark of spring. The line is much more focused on sportswear: a great-looking blouse and skirt that, together, make a summer outfit.”
-Laura McCIung, director, the Chanel boutique, Highland Park Village.
“The key look for us is all about ease and comfort. It’s hand-knitted sweaters with a hand-rolled edge. It’s the most luxurious fabrics and impeccable tailoring-great double-faced linen pants, suede pieces lined in goatskin; light, easy, wearable pieces. Everything about (Hermes’ designer) Martin Margiela’s collection is about classics you incorporate into your existing wardrobe. All the pieces go together. The color palette is cool and subdued-cement, stone, anthracite. The shoes are, for the most part, flats, or our all-leather sneaker. It’s all about what feels good.”
-Martha Fordyce, managing director, the Hermes boutique. Highland Park Village.
“We’re focusing on the importance of white for spring in all areas, hether it’s footwear, accessories, even the interiors of the store. We feel it’s an important foundation neutral for the season, A Jot of the color we’re seeing going forward is based on white undertones. It’s a great complement to all the gray we’ve been seeing. It’s also a symbol of optimism as we go into the future.”
-Gina Tovar, fashion director for the central states, Nordstrom, the Galleria.
“Mirrors and body bags.”-Prada spokesperson David Morgan, the Prada boutique, Highland Park Village.
“Casual, with every length of pantfrom capri to ankle length-in stretch fabrics and paired with sweater sets and knit tops.”
-Nancy Diebolt, owner, Turtleiique, Inwood Village.
“The season breaks down into three key looks: ’The Good Sport’ is inspired by active living and will wear a little bit fuller trouser with a sheer knit top that’s hooded; her accessory is going to be the body bag-the premier accessory on the runways-worn across the fanny, hip, or body. The Modern Muse’ takes her inspiration from the Japanese with asymmetrical and interesting fabric details. Color is important here when mixed with black and white. She will wear a little more ergonomic heel. ’The Social Light’ likes things more feminine and with a little more structure to them in a softer color palette: the chemise dress with a jacket thrown over it. She likes a strappy shoe and a straw-basket-shaped Dag.
vice president of corporate public relations, Neiman Marcus, multiple locations.
“Anything that’s soft, long, and lean, Marisa Minicucci is emerging so rapidly on the fashion scene with looks from well-fitted, structured suits in a pinstriped linen. And then there’s pinstriped linen that’s loose worn with a strapless sweater underneath a big shirt.”
-Phyllis Walker, owner, DelAnn’s,
“The key look for spring is still that chic casual look. It’s about using a finer fabric, but in a casual style: a silk cargo pant, a silk poncho. The focus of our spring line is utility.”
-Beth Bond, general
manager, the Polo Ralph
Lauren store, Highland
“Knitwear is a key ele-ment
-Nicole Fischelis, women’s fashion director, Saks Fifth Avenue, the Galleria.