Fashion Diary: Retail buyers say what's hot, what's not for fall

Fashion Diary: Retail buyers say what's hot, what's not for fall
Fendi bag is an example of a trend toward more structured, simplified looks for fall-winter 2011. (Jonas Gustavsson and Peter Stigter / For The Times)

After four weeks of runway shows parading designers' visions for this coming fall and winter, here's what retail buyers — who will bring the looks home to you — are saying.

Amanda Brooks, fashion director, Barneys New York

The season's big idea: Designers realize that women rarely wear their looks head to toe, so it's about designing great items and putting them together in a contextual way so that women can incorporate them into their wardrobes.

The must-haves: Longer skirts, around the knee or below, or all the way down to the ground — especially pleated skirts as seen at Nina Ricci and Giambattista Valli. Loafers, both flat or on a heel. Lanvin, Celine and Valli all had loafers. Fur and novelty things with fur, such as the fur dickeys we saw at Celine. And 1960s volume, which was beautifully done at Jil Sander and Junya Watanabe, with cape-back dresses fitted in front. Capes themselves are also a humongous trend. Python is big for accessories, such as the trompe l'oeil boots at Prada. And it's not about a hobo bag this season, it's more "lady." Fendi had beautiful structured bags.

What won't fly? The more literal 1960s look, mod. It's too specific and doesn't translate as well as other eras to the way modern women want to dress.

Will women go grunge? I'm more interested in the grunge silhouette and proportion than grungy prints or deconstruction. Alexander Wang had a great take on the long sweater, long skirt look, which you could say was influenced by grunge. Haider Ackermann showed a similar silhouette. It's grunge, but it's glamorous grunge.

Holli Rogers, buying director,

The season's big idea: There are really two. The first is a continuation from spring, the 1970s look is huge. And bubbling underneath is a new oversize proportion with exaggerated shoulders as seen at Miu Miu, Stella McCartney and Isabel Marant.

The must-haves: As part of the '70s look, capes, blouses and the wide-leg pants. And it's a sleek cape, not one that's ostentatious. We loved the capes at Lanvin, which was one of the strongest shows. Chelsea boots are quite important, and we're seeing more of a return to a flatter shoe in general. As far as bags, we're moving away from a lot of hardware to a more simple and lighter-weight bag. The Chloé bucket bags, for example, were really simple with just a tassel detail.

What won't fly? Extreme heels. We're still going to buy some, but we're also doing a lot of loafers.

Will women go grunge? Yes, but in a dressed-up way, not like it was in the 1990s. We're seeing it in all the checks and plaids too, at Carven and in other collections. And in the new emphasis on casual. Baggy trousers with a slouchy shirt is a very cool look.

Jeffrey Kalinsky, executive vice president of designer merchandising, Nordstrom

The season's big idea: Richness. The most important clothes have pure emotion and desirability, such as a gorgeous print velvet dress from Erdem or a luxe coat from Prada.

The must-haves: In New York, we loved the cocktail looks and gowns at Jason Wu. In Milan, the new volume at Jil Sander really struck a chord. In Paris, we had a lot of favorites. At Haider Ackermann, we loved the coats. One was black with the bottom done in white and another with the bottom in a multi-bouclé. I also think the long slit bouclé skirts are going to come in and go out. At Lanvin, the beginning of the show was particularly beautiful. One of the short dresses, bare up top, with gorgeous jewels — [designer] Alber Elbaz showed it with men's shoes. It was so new. At Dries Van Noten, there were so many gorgeous things, including a military shirt with embroidery all the way down the sleeve and mixed-media dresses. And all of Junya Watanabe's black leather was perfect. That is going to be a real trend. And Givenchy, the velvet skirt with the trumpet detail in back, that alone is the kind of richness we're talking about.

What won't fly? We don't think about what we're not going to buy. We zero in on what we think is important and try to put together the puzzle of the season.

Will women go grunge? Yes. The designers inspired by grunge really offered a more modern, glamorous take.