Sweet Things – Fall Fashion Power Trend

The pleasure of fashion is the ability to transport the wearer and captivate the observer. Fashion is a game, played well, by a scarce few who understand its incredible power.  Fashion choices can help one transcend mere mortal status. Think of the ability of black leather to dominate, a Navy uniform to officiate or all white to glamorize.

Nothing is so sensual, so alluring, so downright sexy as the “Sweet Things” trending in fall fashion. These girly, fitted, ruffly, lacy, pleated, cropped, sheer, sequined and embellished items have the ability to bring men to their knees.  Women get caught in their emotional web and can’t resist the impulse. Think legal nudity.

Power trend: Sweet and sexy blush items for fall.

Power trend: Sweet and sexy blush items for fall.

Most often, these trouble-making tops, dresses, handbags, shoes, sweaters, active wear, bras, panties and skirts are in delicate shades of blush pink.  Look for these delicate colors in beauty lines, as well.

Caution, there can be too much of a good thing. Wear them tonally or in single servings. Pair sweet pieces with edgier ones like jeans or leather jacket. Pair with grey, navy or maroon. Head-to-toe blush pink can lead to a matronly sugar rush.

Look to Herve Lerger, Ted Baker, Tory Burch, Club Monaco, BCBG, Zara, La Perla, Athleta, etc. for some of the best Sweet Things.

 

For color seasonal color forecasts, see COLORSCOOP.

 Dix&Pond is the blog of Dix & Pond Consulting Creative and strategic consulting for retail, wholesale apparel, footwear, consumer products and branding agencies. Follow me to get the latest posts

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Fall 2015 Fashion Colors for Women

Are you a little bored with the same old color trend services year after year? Any design director who has been in the business for while starts to recognize the color service without seeing the box. A bigger problem is that many pricey forecasts come out about 18 months in advance. How can they be right? Fashion designers should strive to work closer to season.

Check out a new women’s color trend service for sportswear, active wear, dresses, accessories, intimate and footwear called COLORSCOOP. What sets it apart, is it comes out closer to the season (about 12 months in advance) and is chock full of beautiful, current images to support the forecast. This exciting service comes as a wired-bound book, with Pantone textile references and understandable commentary. Created by a design director for design directors and an economical $495 per season. Get the scoop now, SEE COLORSCOOP for immediate delivery.

Colorscoop is easy-to-use, salable and economical.

Colorscoop is easy-to-use, salable and economical.

Dix&Pond is the blog of Dix & Pond Consulting Creative and strategic consulting for retail, wholesale apparel, footwear, consumer products and branding agencies. Follow me to get the latest posts

Great New Color Trend Service

Are you a little bored with the same old color trend services year after year? Any design director who has been in the business for while starts to recognize the color service without seeing the label. A bigger problem is that many pricey forecasts come out about 18 months in advance. How can they be right? Fashion designers should strive to work closer to season.

Introducing a new women’s color trend service called COLORSCOOP. What sets it apart, is it comes out closer to the season (about 12 months in advance) and is chock full of beautiful, current images to support the forecast. This exciting service comes as a wired-bound book, with Pantone textile references and understandable commentary. Created by a design director for design directors and an economical $295 per season.

A page from spring 2015 Colorscoop.

A page from spring 2015 Colorscoop.

Dix&Pond is the blog of Dix & Pond Consulting Creative and strategic consulting for retail, wholesale apparel, footwear, consumer products and branding agencies. Follow me to get the latest posts

Hot Shoe Trend-It’s Good To Be Bad

“When I’m good, I’m very good, but when I’m bad, I’m better,” so goes the famous quote from May West.

A red-hot holiday 2013 shoe trend is take-no-prisoners, bad-girl shoes. This badass footwear includes moto and over the knee boots , ultra pointy flats and towering pumps decorated with metal studs. Live dangerously and watch them fall into line. Men will swoon. These power shoes mean business, I’m talking monkey business!

It's good to be bad. Badass shoes are red-hot for 2013!

It’s good to be bad. Badass shoes are red-hot for 2013!

Some of the best are from Frye, Michael Kors, Stuart Weitzman, Valentino, Christian Louboutin, Sam Edelman, Burberry, etc. Wear with caution as these shoes could get you arrested for disturbing the peace!

Dix&Pond is the blog of Dix & Pond Consulting Creative and strategic consulting for retail, wholesale apparel,  footwear, consumer products and branding agencies. Follow me to get the latest posts

Lululemon Pant Recall – Sheer Madness

Last week Lululemon’s stock took a hit on news of a recall of a batch of their “Wunder Under” black yoga pants. When worn by a consumer the pants appeared too sheer. This represented about 17% of their first quarter bottoms assortment and will have an impact on first quarter sales. Lululemon reacted quickly to recall the pants and in the spirit of “transparency”, notified Wall Street of the flap.

Lululemon spring gym bags.

Lululemon spring gym bags.

This sort of thing happens to all manufacturers and brought to mind an incident in my career when the company I worked for, shipped black pants weakened by overdyeing. The pants were splitting in the field and the unassuming customers were showing a lot more than a shadow of their undies! We survived and thrived. This is a case of sheer madness.

Jealous competitors will be disappointed, this incident will not put a dent in the Lululemon lovefest. The beloved Canadian active maker acted the hero, the protector of quality and the decency of their customer.  The missing inventory only represents a piece of their bottoms assortment.

Lululemon continues to innovate and delight their customers.

Lululemon continues to innovate and delight their customers.

The big winners will be those who buy the stock on the dip!

Dix&Pond is the blog of www.dixandpond.com Creative and strategic consulting for retail and wholesale apparel, shoe and consumer product companies. Follow me to get the latest posts

Fall 2012 Jaded Outlook

To the casual observer color evolution is so slow, it is to be missed. Color trends advance steadily but significant palette changes don’t appear obvious until seen in retrospect. It is easy to identify in decades, like the good-time pastels of the 50’s and the anti-establishment avocados and golds of the 70’s. Colors in fashion, accessories, beauty and home sprout, grow, peak and die. Palettes and ranges crossover during this process. It is always a reflection of the social mood.

We are in an explosive color phase now. Spring/Summer 2012 showcased some of the brightest colors we have seen in decades. Neons, Tangerine Tango (the Pantone color of the year) and uber brights. Color-blocking, colored accessories and colorful nail colors competed for our attention and dollars in a less than stellar economic environment, (i.e. Coach’s new Legacy collection for fall). When times are tough, color takes us out of our collective funk.

Green-tinged blues are emerging, as the must-have color for fall 2012!

Green-tinged blues are emerging, as the must-have color for fall 2012!

Color watchers look for emerging shades that haven’t made the scene in a while. Their dormancy gives them freshness, like the new kid on the block. For fall 2012 we have a jaded outlook, and teal is the current must-have. Green-tinged blues are the new-found friend. These deep-water shades are calming, rich and pair well with blues and pops of gold. A jaded outlook is sprouting in apparel, accessories, beauty and home decor and  expect it will continue into next year.

My personal obsession this fall is with Furla’s rubber “Candy Satchel”  in Pavone!

Dix&Pond is the blog of www.dixandpond.com                                                                                                                                                                    Creative and strategic consulting for retail and wholesale apparel, shoe and consumer product companies.

Well Shod- Fall 2012 Shoe Trends

Shoes and bags have been on a retail tear lately. The excitement in footwear and handbag design is palpable. As designers have taken style risks in colors, shapes and materials, consumers have rewarded them with ever-increasing sales. The Saks 5th Avenue flagship which has one of the most extensive and exciting designer shoe floors on the planet is expanding once again. Macy’s Herald Square is creating the largest shoe floor in the world at 39,000 square feet. There is a highly innovative period happening in athletic, casual, dress shoes and boots. In the shoe biz, the ante is up and it’s no time to bluff.

Fall 2012 Shoe Trends

Fall 2012 Shoe Trends

Shoes and handbags like the beauty area, are inclusionary of all sizes and ages, so all customers can play in the game. Plus-sized customers have under-sized apparel options so they turn to the democratic shoe floor for a fashion update. With shoes (with a few extreme exceptions), the forgotten male or female boomer can send a major fashion smoke signal, without looking like a desperate fool.

Women covet shoes and will reach beyond their means for status brands like Prada, Miu Miu, Valentino, Tory Burch, Brian Atwood and Christian Louboutin. They are also stuffing their closets with Uggs, Sperry, Kate Spade, Coach, Michael Kors, Nike, Converse, Hunter, BCBG, Stuart Weitzman, Cole Haan, Ivanka Trump, Tom’s and Isaac Mizrahi to name a few.

Here’s a run down on the best Fall 2012 trends:

Color and Patterns – Colors and patterns such as animal prints, are major drivers of newness in all categories of shoes

Lighter Than Air – Ultralight and colorful running and athletic shoes from Nike, Asics, New Balance Minimus, etc.

Retro Vulcanized – Retro sneakers are hot in new materials and colors from Superga, Uggs, Converse and other designers.

Glam Casuals – Casual has gone glamorous in boat shoes, slippers, boots, loafers and sneakers with glam styling such as metallic, sequins and glitter

Tough Love – Biker details such as buckles, straps and multi-studs on boots, sandals and smoking slippers

Oxford Grad – Classic and inventive oxfords continue in contrast colors and materials (Valentino even has lace tipped patent leather oxfords!)

Tipping Point – Ultra high ice pick heels and pointy toed pumps

Feminine Flats – The world is flat.. especially hot are smoking slippers in a wide variety of materials

Dix&Pond is the blog of Dix&Pond…creative and strategic consulting for retail and wholesale apparel, shoe and consumer products.

Nifty Shades of Gray

There is a graying of America going on and I’m not talking about an aging population or a bestselling novel. Gray is the trending neutral color that has taken the apparel and home markets by storm, fog, stone, graphite, and black pearl. Grays are a modern choice for clothing, shoes, handbags, accessories, beauty, nail color, home decor, textiles, wallpaper and paint.

Shades of gray are the modern neutral for apparel, accessories, beauty and home decor.

Shades of gray are the modern neutral for apparel, accessories, beauty and home decor.

No other color is at once elegant, sporty, sexy and sophisticated for sportswear, dresses and lingerie. Gray is the perfect transitional color. In apparel, gray is the modern foil to pair with the omnipresent bright and neons shades instead of comic strip black. It transports pastels from saccharine to cosmopolitan. Head-to-toe tonal grays are the essence of impeccable taste and 50’s chic. Even the most dedicated black and white urbanites can update their uniform and soften their edge with nifty shades of gray.

Gray has become a basic in towels, sheets, rugs and pillows. In home decor, gray is the perfect backdrop for strong colors like chartreuse, red or inky blues. It creates a calming retreat when paired with ivory, pinky purples, creamy aqua or whipped butter. Gray is black’s kinder, gentler, cousin. For maximum impact, when combining grays, contrast textures like shiny and matte, fluffy and smooth, to up the style quotient.

Fashion is a reflection of the social mood. I guess we are in the mood for a calmer, gentler time.

Dix&Pond is the blog of Dix&Pond…creative and strategic consulting for retail, wholesale, analysts and investors.

JCP Report Card – Hope & Change

Visual merchandising is greatly improved.

Visual merchandising is greatly improved.

In my post last February about the transformation of J.C. Penney (JC Penney Ante),  my greatest concern was their ability to turn the product around. I didn’t doubt they could improve the design, housekeeping and experience of the physical stores; or that they could market the new strategy.

Department stores today are far more complex organizations than they were decades ago. They are now multi-channel and in some cases multi-national organizations. They all produce a good percentage of their own private brands and have to have extensive product development teams. Moderate stores such as Penney’s don’t have much of an open market anymore. There are few moderate brands that have the ability to sell these consolidated behemoths. They were squeezed out over time by the retailers consuming selling space with their own products.

A top from JCP's fashion-right Mango line.

A top from JCP’s fashion-right Mango line.

Stores with private brands have to manage traditional merchandising and buying staff and have the ability to run creative design teams. These two functions are polar opposites and have a competitive tension between them. Great design comes from truly gifted and visionary talent. In many companies, it  a considered a common trait. Often unqualified merchants are given creative authority over programs with dreary results. In-house design can become too insular, as well. Unfortunately, for the most part, private label apparel is subject to large committees of leadership, all who put their stamp on the offer. Subsequently, they can water down the soup and create brands with stolen or missing identities.

There is a good assortment of fresh dresses.

There is a good assortment of fresh dresses.

For Penney’s to really transform beyond price selling, they must have the ability to create authentic desirable brands, not generic names with me-too styling. Their true prospects rely on their ability to hire or partner with the best design talent in the industry. This is the Target playbook.

JCP has well represented the active trend.

JCP has well represented the active trend.

On my recent trip to Penney’s, I saw some real green sprouts of change in the environment and merchandising. The stores are less cluttered, brighter and have better housekeeping. In some areas, I felt like I was in Bloomingdale’s or Nordstrom, but at Target prices. Kudos to them, the place feels younger, more upscale, and alive! Some of the featured fashion was an exciting value. It is a much more pleasant place to shop.

The store is a tale of two cities now. They still are devoting a large swath of the store to Liz Claiborne and other missy product. The missy area is a dead zone for most companies, as they don’t really understand how to address the multiple lifestyles of an aging population. This is a core customer for Penney’s, so it will require real introspection. I have little faith that the upcoming Liz Claiborne concept shop will move the needle. This brand has been rehashed for years. (Formerly Liz Claiborne, Fifth and Pacific changed their name and sold their ailing namesake.) It will be an enormous challenge to give this line an appealing and authentic personality. They are also banking on Izod, Levi’s, Buffalo and their in-house basics for third quarter apparel introductions. This is hardly an exciting apparel roster, ditto for the upcoming fall Royal Velvet home shop.

Some compelling contemporary separates.

Some compelling contemporary separates.

I am much more intrigued with upcoming home introductions from Jonathan Adler, Terrance Conran, Michael Graves and Bodum in the home area next year. The current home assortment is painfully mainstream.

Sephora is still their ace card. I give them credit for their large department of trending active wear, big selection of dresses and pretty tops. The Mango department is hip and enticing. All important handbags are uninspiring, but shoes hit on most of the trends. The fine jewelry department is very old school. They will be introducing accessories by Betsy Johnson, Vivienne Tam and Lulu Guinness for fall. There are also some very cute kid’s clothes. Young families will be core constituents of the new Penney’s.

Target and Kohl’s should be very worried about Penney’s transformation, especially Kohl’s, if Penney’s get the missy area on track.  The new Penney’s has the potential to be a low-end Nordstrom. So far I see hope and change beyond my expectations. Stay tuned.

Dix&Pond is the blog of Dix&Pond…creative and strategic consulting for retail, wholesale, analysts and investors. Contact us for more information on custom research and reporting.

Primary Reasons

Summer brings out the best in color palettes. This year beyond the neons and expected turquoises, I find myself drawn to the basic elements of all color,  the primaries. Fashion color runs in cycles and for me the most classic, Crayola basics are looking especially fresh for summer 2012. They are the big bang theory of the color family. There is nothing that steals a scene like a pop of tomato red, lily yellow or chipper skipper blue.  The primaries are color royalty, the mother of all colors. Even a black and white wearing urbanite can kick it up a notch with a bold primary accent.

A jolt of primary color looks especially fresh this summer.

A jolt of primary color looks especially fresh this summer.

Primaries have a certain sporty, joie-de vivre. They pair perfectly with nautical and military inspired looks. They work well for women’s apparel, dresses, shoes, handbags, luggage, tech cases and accessories as well as kids and modern home accents.  I especially love them in outdoor decor for towels, umbrellas, pillows and indoor-outdoor rugs. Red lips and red, yellow and blue nail colors are trending in beauty. These high-fired, salable classics will go forward in seasons to come!

Dix&Pond is the blog of Dix&Pond consulting…strategic and creative product development and brand consulting.

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