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The buyers' view: spring 17 women's catwalks

Buyers index

 

 

Five leading womenswear buyers analyse the spring catwalks, revealing their key shows and trends.

Coco Chan, head of womenswear, Stylebop

How would you sum up the season?

I don’t think designers set out to reinvent the wheel, and that turned out to be quite an asset. The general trend was toward refining and distilling a core DNA or message, coupled with a desire to let women approach fashion as individuals. This was a very powerful combination that let the clothes speak for themselves. The strongest collections – Gucci, Marni, Simone Rocha and Dries Van Noten, among others – were able to achieve this sense of brand clarity while also striking out into new terrain.

Sroc rtw ss17 3173

Sroc rtw ss17 3173

Simone Rocha spring 17

What directions, trends, moods or key pieces stood out?

Volume was a key proposition, and there was a particular focus on the shoulder: rounded, dropped or exaggerated is the core of the new silhouette. The oversized jacket (seen at Céline, Jil Sander, Vetements and Off-White), made a strong case for the return of 1980s power tailoring. For a friendlier take, there was the mutton-sleeve blouse, and oversized shirting in general, which cropped up in one way another in almost every collection. Colour was another key message, from jarring primaries to unusual bridesmaid shades, such as canary and lilac. Velvet doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere: it came out lighter and younger, in fresh hues, intriguing treatments and, at Victoria Beckham, with a slightly 1990s vibe. Finally, parachuting details continued the sports-luxe trajectory that has become so important in modern dress.

What were your favourite collections?

Beck rtw ss17 0640

Beck rtw ss17 0640

Victoria Beckham spring 17

Victoria Beckham for the pared-down, but sumptuous modernism. I loved the romance at Roksanda and Simone Rocha – it still read as directional. Marni and Etro did wonderful things with proportions, which highlighted the skill of Italian tailoring. Rick Owens’ sculptural cocoons really captured the mood of the moment, but also felt transcendent, and Céline continued its commitment to perfecting the modern woman’s wardrobe.

Anita Barr, fashion director, Harvey Nichols

How would you sum up the season?

There was a lot of creativity and theatre, but also many collections that felt very commercial, which makes my job as a buyer easier. I think a lot of it was down to appealing to a new generation of fashion-savvy consumers and a move towards collections becoming more accessible.

What directions, trends, moods or key pieces stood out?

It felt like brands were really embracing femininity, but it’s important to note these looks were toughened up with edgier accessories and finishes, including sports elements. Barely-there dressing is still a trend, so soft tailoring and off-the-shoulder styles are silhouettes to invest in. Stripes have been emerging since New York, while a key garment will be the trench coat.

Gucc rtw ss17 0801

Gucc rtw ss17 0801

Gucci spring 17

Gucci is still on a roll with its eclectic vintage look, which everyone has now adopted. Embellishment is key, from heavy jewelled hemlines, harnesses and oversized necklaces to the supersized handbags seen at Céline and Balenciaga.

What were your favourite collections?

The takeaway from New York was Brandon Maxwell – he presented a standout show with an uplifting spirit. We’re very excited to be exclusively stocking the designer from autumn 16. We also had our eye on Monse.

In London, we were blown away by Roksanda, while another Brit favourite, Christopher Kane, showcased his individual style and had everyone gossiping about the reinvention of Crocs sandals.

In Milan, the highlight was Fendi. The whole collection was beautiful and each look was paired with the most amazing shoes. Another standout for us was Marni.

Drie rtw ss17 1770

Drie rtw ss17 1770

Dries Van Noten spring 17

It was a season of firsts for many fashion houses in Paris, where the new creative directors showcased their visions for the first time. Saint Laurent was a highlight, along with Céline and Givenchy. Dries Van Noten’s show was phenomenal and Stella McCartney brought the fun factor to the fashion shows.

Candice Fragis, buying and merchandising director, Farfetch

How would you sum up the season?

Creative in the delivery of presentations and shows, with a more commercial continuation of what we have already seen in terms of product.

What directions, trends, moods or key pieces stood out?

A theme is what I’m referring to as “the dress down” – softer flowing shapes and fabrics, with a mix of prints, ginghams and stripes. Exaggerated shapes remain with a focus on the sleeve, oversized shirting and bold outerwear. Cut-outs, velvet and sequins also dominated, for something a bit more glam.

What were your favourite collections?

Hind rtw ss17 1008

Hind rtw ss17 1008

Anya Hindmarch spring 17

I thought Jonathan Saunders did a great job for Diane Von Furstenberg in New York. Ryan Roche’s femininity also stood out, and Tome remains a favourite for me with its approach to everyday dressing. In London, I was more impressed with the presentations than the shows: Duro Olowu, Isa Arfen and Palmer Harding were standouts. That said, the Anya Hindmarch show was awesome. In Milan, Etro elevated the boho style to new heights and Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini goes from strength to strength. Paris was the best city this season. Haider Ackermann, Loewe, Jacquemus, Balenciaga – I loved them all.

Jeannie Lee, womenswear buying manager, Selfridges

How would you sum up the season?

It has been a good combination of creative, commercial and inspiring. There is a sense of optimism and spirituality present in this season’s shows.

What directions, trends, moods or key pieces stood out?

A bold colour palette with fluorescent yellow, orange and purple dominated. We witnessed an explosion of bright colours, from Sies Marjan and Delpozo in New York, to Marni and Gucci in Milan, and Haider Ackermann in Paris.

We noticed a lot of experimentation with construction, deconstruction, and volume, and we saw unexpected ways of reworking traditional garments at Jacquemus and Sacai.

Saca rtw ss17 0646

Saca rtw ss17 0646

Sacai spring 17

Junya Watanabe delivered an intelligent yet shocking, underground punk-inspired collection, whereas Haider Ackermann’s show was other-worldly and highly spiritual.

Natasha Zinko hosted a brilliant immersive presentation, where guests were invited into her “home” to have breakfast and interact with the models. A surreal and inspiring set-up for a great presentation.

What were your favourite collections?

Zink rtw ss17 0091

Zink rtw ss17 0091

Natasha Zinko spring 17

Haider Ackermann and Junya Watanabe in Paris, Gucci and Marni in Milan, Simone Rocha and Natasha Zinko in London, and Delpozo and Sies Marjan in New York.

Laura Larbalestier, buying director, Browns

How would you sum up the season?

The shows have felt very inspiring. Designers really seem to be looking to approach things in new and interesting ways. From new designers at Dior and Saint Laurent to the new direction at Balenciaga, fashion is changing, and it’s a very exciting moment.

Bale rtw ss17 1109

Bale rtw ss17 1109

Balenciaga spring 17

What directions, trends, moods or key pieces stood out?

We’ve seen the return of the suit, and the denim domination continues. Yellow will be the colour of spring 17, and the shirt is the key piece.

What were your favourite collections?

Prad rtw ss17 0690

Prad rtw ss17 0690

Prada spring 17

Jacquemus, Céline, Balenciaga, Dries Van Noten and Valentino in Paris. Marni, Prada and Gucci in Milan. Roksanda, Ashish and Preen by Thornton Bregazzi in London, and Proenza Schouler in New York.

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