With fresh trends so thin on the ground, brands in Barcelona were hoping intricate details and sophisticated treatments would appease cautious buyers.
Bread & Butter buyers waiting for the slow train to New Trendsville were forced to rethink their buying routes last week. The few who made the trip in time for day one were greeted by a soporific carousel of seen-it-all-before collections, with brands churning out a near identikit roll-call of last season’s looks.
Even blindfolded, any buyer worth their salt would have double-guessed the tidal wave of checks, tech fabrics, lightweight trench coats and 1980s inspired casualwear which dominated rails.
Our ever shaky summer climes and the ensuing shift in consumer attitudes to spring outerwear have combined to fuel the number of coat options available. For men, 1980s sports blousons are one of the season’s biggest trend stories. Seeded by the spring 07 Members Only jacket revival, it’s easier to count the collections without options than those with; and most designers have interpreted their styles using the technical nylons which resurface for a second consecutive season.
Two summers of cropped trench coats later and yet more are on the horizon; although for next season the focus shifts towards women. Lightweight styles in short feminine silhouettes were presented by a diverse mix of brands, from Full Circle to Buffalo David Bitton. In many cases the colour palette played from the fruit salad shades which helped lift so many collections at Bread & Butter. Reminiscent of everyone’s favourite penny sweets these shots of orange, yellow and pink injected a vibrant and fun look to many young fashion ranges. Coloured denim also helped lift the mood. They may not be new - having made a slight return to denim ranges for spring 07 - but all those cool kids wearing juicy denim shades on this summer’s music festival circuit should help encourage more shoppers to buy into the look for spring 08.
The coloured denim trend serves to highlight an increasingly significant dynamic. In the old days, brands would break trends which the high street would cover a season later. Then fast fashion happened, and brands presenting new trends at a July trade show became used to the gut-wrenching reality that the high street could potentially churn out their own copy-cat versions three months before the brands had a chance to deliver. Now, that trend could be working to the advantage of branded retailers. Take light-washed jeans. After having spotted a spattering of stonewashed looks in the spring 07 branded collections, the high street was all over the trend this summer. Now, multiples are on Sale and the rails are straining under the weight of all those unsold light washed jeans. The high street was too quick off the starting blocks on the trend; so, while checks and tech nylons remain big on the high street this current season, you can be sure there will be a deluge of mainstream shoppers who will spend this summer getting used to both ideas before gaining enough confidence to buy into the trends come spring 09. In the absence of new trends, for spring 09 buyers are faced with the challenge of backing the right brands and selecting the right options from those brands; options with enough intricacy in terms of design detail and sophistication in terms of treatments to justify the higher value attached.