Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Reality Shows Designers Aim for Clothes People Might Actually Wear

Derek Lam and Vera Wang on Tuesday showed plenty of neat skirts and office-worthy jackets. Several of Ms. Wang's wool jackets and a pair of loose-legged pants stood out for their clean-lined, architectural look. Mr. Lam said he mixed leather and suede with "honest" fabrics like different types of cotton and merino wool, which are more likely to be affordable to consumers. Even Marc Jacobs, a master of theatrics, ditched his usual dramatic spectacle on Monday evening. He offered, simply, an elegant collection of dresses, suits and separates—in shoes that could be worn by real people, no less. The wearability theme is all good news for retailers. Buyers have been watching for clothes they can actually sell as New York fashion week sprints towards its finish on Thursday with a series of big-name shows. Steve Sadove, chief executive of Saks Fifth Avenue, said that New York fashion week has been looking "good" for the luxury chain, though he qualified the remark with "I hope." Sales in the industry have been down for 18 months, and splashy looks aren't working like they used to. Designers want to sell clothes.



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