What does Barbara think. Spring 2009 edition

Barbara Atkin, vice president of fashion, Holt Renfrew has been mentioned in the Buyers Report for Spring 2009 on WWD. Let’s see what she has to say

On New York:

Barbara Atkin, vice president and fashion director of Holt Renfrew, agreed. “We’re all examining and stepping back,” she said. “When there’s economic instability, people question their purchasing.

“This is a time when we’re really looking at the new guard of designers,” said Atkin, noting some iconic American design houses are floundering without their namesake designers at the helm. “There’s a lot of confusion at Bill Blass and the problem with Halston is, what does it mean anymore? It’s got to go beyond the name on the label. It’s just got to be fantastic clothes. The clothes have to have substance and the identity of what the brand is has to jump out at you.”

That’s what Atkin is looking for in all collections. “If we don’t get that, everything we purchase fades into a blandism on our floors.”

Of course, there were exceptions. Marc Jacobs and Rodarte were singled out by several retailers for their creativity. “Maria Cornejo, Alexander Wang, these are the new guard,” said Atkin. “A new generation is coming up quickly.”

Favorite collections: Michael Kors because he understands who his woman is. This season, he walked away from the uptight lady and gave us American sportswear in classic Bal Harbour colors and it worked. He also had wonderful scuba sexy dresses, which I think will bring in a new customer. Rodarte was fearless in their expression and whether you can wear it or not, I think it was art. They established themselves as American designers with a world-class point of view. Also, Jeremy Laing, a Canadian, did beautiful, billowing, simple clothing and worked with interesting under slips and openwork. Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera gave us quality and security and consistency. At that price point, you want that. Marc Jacobs summed up where we are today. He showed so strongly what I call the DIY look. You pick your clothes to suit your personality. When Marc mixes up the plaids with the damasks, evening with day and grunge with Asia, he’s saying take these items and create your own style.

Trends that are keepers: Romantic bohemia, monochromatic designs with clean lines that give more longevity to clothes, transferring details from the athletic world to couture shapes, papery leather, a variety of pant silhouettes and fabrics with glazing and sheen and shine.

On Milan:

“Milan gave us exactly what we came here looking for — luxurious product with the right amount of ‘wow.’ In the world of apparel, designers gave us well-balanced collections with many choices for our customers’ varied lifestyles. Heritage houses in the luxury world are raising the bar and positioning themselves at the top end of luxury. The overlying trend was geometry versus femininity, and key elements included seasonless fabrics; details like fringe, ruffles and bows; transparency and cutouts, and polkadots. Key items include lightweight, easy toppers; strong-shouldered, man-tailored suits with ankle-bearing slim pants; longer vests; jumpsuits; soft flirty skirts; lightweight cardigans, and short, above-the-knee “fit and flare” shirt and halter dresses. Accessories took center stage this season — bigger and bolder than ever. Luxury brands are reinforcing the importance of the statement handbag and jewelry this season, as evident in bold earrings, necklaces and cuffs. The waist was emphasized by the use of dramatic belts. Clearly, the entire world of accessories has become an important extension of designer brands. There was a lack of innovation this season in footwear, as designers did not take forward their aggressive and extreme designs, except Fendi, which gave us a new trompe l’oeil stiletto wedge. My favorite collections were Jil Sander, Marni, Prada, Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana.”

She wasn’t quoted for Paris. Check out what other buyers are saying at the Fashion Spot – S/S 09 Buyers Reports