The Fashion Group Foundation’s Fall/Winter 2016/2017 Trend Overview

The Fashion Group International ( held their Ready-to-Wear Trend Presentations for Fall/ Winter 2016/2017 this past Wednesday. The event was sponsored by Ecco Domani, MAC Cosmetics, LIM College and Hearst Magazines, which explains the venue: the Hearst Tower Screening Room. And no, attendees did not get a bottle of wine, lipstick, or a scholarship lol.

FYI, I worked at Harper’s Bazaar for more than 20 years, but this is only the second time I had been inside the architecturally arresting building. (The 46- story structure, designed by Norman Foster, opened in 2006 and I was there from 1971 to 1992. I had an office at 717 5th Avenue and 1700 Broadway).

Erica Russo, Ying Chu, Beth Buccini, Anne Slowey, Nicole Fischelis,
& Bridget Foley

As always, the trend overview was superbly edited and narrated by Fashion Group’s creative director Marylou Luther, who left no stone unturned as she highlighted the best of the best from the runways of New York, London, Milan, and Paris. (Sure, by now we have all seen the collections and we know the trends, but seeing it put together this way lets us see it from a different perspective). At the end, she summed it up with her list of “Best Bets” (those items most likely to translate from runway to reality).

Nicole Fischelis and Bridget Foley

This season, that list includes corsetry, pajamas, ‘athluxury’, layering, oversized, gender free, knits, street, velvet, leather and shearling, military, prints (florals and leaf prints), fur, tops (shirts and blouses), pants (cropped and wide), skirts (midi and full), dresses (printed and waistline skimming), coats (tech and cape), puffers, evening (sweater over long skirt/tuxedo dress), shoe (Mary Jane), bag (the box). As for hair and makeup – it’s all about individuality, anything goes (which is the same thing one can say about fashion in general).

I attended the noon time presentation which was followed by what is always a lively panel discussion.

This year’s Moderator was WWD’s Bridget Foley. Panelists were Beth Buccini (Kirna Zabete), Ying Chu (Glamour), Nicole Fischelis (Macy’s), Erica Russo (Bloomingdales), and Anne Slowey (Elle). As soon as Bridget took the podium, she admitted this was her very first FGI Ready-to-Wear trend presentation and was “blown away” (“such lucidity!” she exclaimed), and then gave a big shout out to Marylou Luther. And then laughing, she noted, “This is also the first time I’ve heard the name Mamie Eisenhower used in conjunction with fashion!” This was in reference to a segment on beauty which showed model of the moment Catherine Moore at Alexander Wang, with her ‘Mamie Eisenhower’ bangs in the words of Marylou.

Among the topics Ms. Foley spearheaded: the influence of streetwear and gender fluidity on fashion; designer firings and hirings; the timing of the fashion shows; ‘See it now, Buy it now’; ‘IT’ bags; the idea that “anything goes” in beauty and fashion; how to best nurture new talent; creativity vs. salability; and the importance of inspirational fashion. In fact, that latter was of such importance to Ms. Foley, it is how she both began and ended the discussion. In fact, she wasted no time asking the panelists what excited them this season.

Nicole Fischelis (NF):” I was blown away by the diversity in the shows this season. It was astonishing.”

Anne Slowey (AS): “To see how the street was influencing design. The idea of commercializing luxury. Also, designers are going to the furthermost reaches of creativity.

Erica Russo (ER): “So much is happening in each city. There are so many options. It’s going to be a really exciting fall.”

Beth Buccini (BB): “Anything goes! You can be anyone you want to be.

Ying Chu (YC): “Echoing what Beth just said, anything also goes in beauty. It’s all about self-expression. Social media has had such a huge influence. It’s given diversity, individuality a voice. When Catherine Moore had her hair cut at Alexander Wang (and given ‘Mamie Eisenhower bangs’) it was posted all over social media. It immediately changed her look and literally put her on the map.

BF: “The edgy girl. Is edge more important than ever now?

YC: “I think personality is what is important”.

AS: “The edgy girl represents the 80’s and 90’s. Everything is coming back. The corporations have to figure out how categorize. We live in a politically correct politically forgiving world. The most important thing is the way social media is influencing brands.

BF: “There were so many offerings. Did the clothes get lost in any of this? What were the highlights for you this season?”

AS: “Gender Fluidity has a great appeal. The truly talented designers are thriving”.

BB: “We found so much we really loved. In New York, Rosie Assoulin (creative and commercial); in Milan, Gucci (eccentric); and in Paris, Vetements (their combination of street and luxury).

NF: “I was emotionally into the Marc Jacobs’ collection and Dries in Paris (who is one of the most inspiring designers working today). And all the great new talent to watch”.

BF: “What about all the designer comings and goings? The firings and hirings, and the never ending revolving doors (as exemplified by the latest- the appointment of Anthony Vaccarello at Saint Laurent)?. What is a realistic future for all this new talent?” What is the best way to deal with all these new, talented designers?

NF: “The big stores need to devote new space to all this new talent. The big corporations need to support these designers.

ER: “Our customer wants to see new names and new brands. I look for ‘different’, but not so crazy that our national stores will not ‘get it’. Designers have to have a point of view.

BB: “We have long supported young talent. There are several new designers we are doing very well with, such as Ellery and Sandy Liang.

BF: “How important is a designer presence”?

BB: “Just look how public the Saint Laurent ‘thing’ was. I was asked at the gym every morning, by women not in fashion, if the rumors about Anthony Vaccarello taking over from Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent were true. We were the first retailer to carry Anthony Vaccarello, and we know he is great, so Kering knows what they’re doing.”

AS: “We grew up in the era of designers as God. There is increasing pressure. There have been rumors (apparently unfounded) that Phoebe Philo was leaving Celine forever.” “We are always looking for the new, new, new!

(This immediately made me think of the late great Geoffrey Beene’s contention that it matters not what’s new, but what’s good!)

BF: “Is the heyday of the ‘IT’ bag over? Will there ever be another ‘IT’ bag”?

ER: “We’d like to create an ‘IT’ bag! Right now, the Chloe Drew bag has been huge for many seasons, it’s a great bag.

NF: “Where does there have to be just one?

ER: “Street style is so important. It’s as important as the runway.

BB: “It’s completely out of control outside the shows. However, real women with personal style are super inspiring.

BF: “Any comments or suggestions as to how to improve the fashion show experience here in New York?”

ER: “The locations should be closer together, not so spread apart because it’s impossible to see them all and we wind up missing many of them.

YC: “Not everyone needs a show. There’s nothing wrong with presentations.

BB: “Who are we doing this for? The customer. And the customer is confused. She wants to buy now and wear now!

AS: “Retailers are the future.”

NF: “It should be “See now, Buy now, Wear now”. We have to buy regionally for our stores (we buy differently for Florida than New York). I don’t need to waste my time and go to every show. I don’t even get into every show. But, I come out of a great show (Dries Van Noten, Gucci, Valentino, Marc Jacobs) transported”.

BF: “And what a great way to end this discussion. With the idea of being transported after an inspiring fashion show.”

Gabriela Hearst carrying her Nina bag

Just a note, there does seem to be an ‘IT’ bag of the moment: the ‘Nina’ Bag, Gabriela Hearst’s small top handle bag inspired by Botero. The calf-leather number comes in black and cognac and sells for $1,995. The matte black crocodile version goes for $12,000. They are not available online or in a store. You have to email if you really want it and there is already a 100 name waitlist. For more information, go to

– Marilyn Kirschner

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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