Notes from the Old Country

We just got back from our first European buying trip of the season. There was much less visible security than last year. It felt much more welcoming. Nice to see.


We did Paris like we always do, but we also did Düsseldorf, which, if you didn't know, is to Germany what Milan is to Italy. Generally speaking, German designers are very fashion-forward but also very minimalist — almost too much for North American and British tastes. Our clients love the looks we bring back, and they love the quality. For example, two of our German suppliers source wool from Loro Piana for their coats.


Over the course of the trip, we noticed a few interesting trends we’re sure to see here in no time ¾at least, we hope to see them.


  1. Lace

After a few years of solid, serious fabrics, lace is back to make everyone feel a little lighter (and a lot sexier). We saw it integrated into cool wool, cotton casuals or as the stand-alone design for dresses and tops. Naturally, lace got us thinking about the summer in the city, and how excited we are to see the snow go. There wasn't much in Europe. It was a nice change.



  1. Navy Blue

It was everywhere. We see it as a sign of positivity — a lighter take on black. We also saw more plaid and stripes than we’ve seen in the past.


  1. Ruffles

They’re back — especially on the arms. But rather than designed into a blouse (like the Seinfeld puffy shirt), designers are accessorizing with silk scarves on the wrist. What a smart way to add contour.


  1. Easy wear

Comfortable fabrics like jersey and denim were a big number across the shows. Again, a sign of positivity: the looser you are, the better you feel. On the other end of the spectrum, we saw some experimentation with more high-tech fabrics like scuba knit.



  1. Athleisure

This might be a fad (it probably is), but we saw some pretty glamorous sneakers paired with outfits that suited dressier shoes or even heels. It’ll be interesting to see if the trend makes its way here.


Next month, we’ll tell you about Anja Gockel, the newest European addition to our line of designers who make 
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