Womenswear chains face dilemma over how to pick spring 11’s key items following catwalk season.
Multiple retailers have hailed the catwalk season as having delivered plenty of trend inspiration but little clear direction on the key items for spring 11.
The catwalks from London, Paris, New York and Milan produced the biggest variety of trends seen for many seasons but the wide-ranging looks will play into the hands of premium brands and retailers rather than young fashion chains, who will find it more difficult to put a marker in the ground with so many fashion stories to tell.
Minimalism, sportswear and tailoring will come as a challenge for the value market but the 1970s trend seen at Marc Jacobs and the maxi dress trend could offer the best route into the season at the younger end of the market.
New Look group design director Barbara Horspool said: “There isn’t a new shearling,” she added, referring to autumn 10’s clear key trend shown by Burberry, which has led to high street versions of shearling aviator jackets, boots and bags selling out.
Horspool added: “There were lots of good things [trends] but it can go in many directions. The biggest challenge will be to decide which direction that would be.”
Peter Ruis, brand and buying director at John Lewis, agreed but welcomed the plethora of trends. He said: “It’s one of the most commercial seasons. The most interesting trend for John Lewis is the sophisticated Phoebe Philo minimalism [seen at Céline]. It is back to the era of Joseph and Nicole Farhi.”
He added that spring 11’s emphasis on sophisticated cuts would also play into the trend for shoppers buying investment pieces.
He added that the trends such as animal print, minimalism and the military coat would continue to transcend seasons: “[The customer] can invest without concerns about how long it will be in fashion.”
One retail chief said: “Young fashion retailers would ideally look for five key items but the more trends there are to interpret the better it will be,” adding that when the high street piled into one look it often led to price wars.
Neil Hendy, head of design of womenswear and accessories at Marks & Spencer, forecast that fringing, florals and whites would be the standout trends for spring 11.
“The 1970s vibe combined with Navaho styling makes fringing the key detail for the season. Florals continue to be strong, from ditsy patterns to larger prints. Colours will be bright and the perfect antidote of white will strongly feature.”
Karen Millen joint managing director Gemma Metheringham said: “Next spring will feature more colour and an element of fun as a counterbalance to all the neutral minimalism of the autumn. I was expecting to see lots more prints, patterns, embellishment and experimental shapes and the catwalks certainly delivered.”
She added: “We loved the 1970s glamour of Marc Jacobs, the fun bold patterns at Prada and the high-octane glamour of the Gucci show.”