Retail Guide: Fall Trend Forecast

EVP of designer merchandising, Nordstrom

“Early indicators show man-tailored shoes and boots as being very important shapes for women. Wedges and platforms still seem to be key, and new silhouettes on these constructions make them seem new and desirable. As far as materials, patent, suede and calf hair appear to be the winners, and the trendy color is definitely red, from bordeaux to cherry to lipstick. The single-sole pump is performing at retail now, and this will continue for fall. Prada introduced one for spring, and of course, the BB pump from Manolo Blahnik is a favorite.”

Fashion director, Neiman Marcus
“Look for flat riding boots that will complement the many equestrian-inspired looks of the season. We’re also seeing the pump continue after its strong showing this past fall, often in rich colors such as teal and cobalt blue. Another silhouette that continues to be important and a favorite of the customer is the platform, and what also looks very good to our eyes are the new interpretations of the flat as a slipper. Some of the collections we feel will be important are Christian Louboutin because the customer continues to love the excitement he brings to his collection; Manolo Blahnik for his sophisticated and modern approach to the important [ladylike] looks he has continued to redefine; Tabitha Simmons for the modern excitement she infuses into all her collections; Charlotte Olympia, who brings a romantic, Hollywood-starlet spirit to her collection; and Lanvin by Alber Elbaz has added a glamorous modernity to its footwear collection.”

EVP, Hudson’s Bay Co.

Color is the trend we’re most excited about. The deep rich tones of cobalt blue, teal and raspberry look great. In addition, material interest is key, with white leopard and zebra being important and overdyed snake and glitter being dominant. In the dress category, the single-sole pump is key, and in flats, the smoking shoe is the biggest new item. Boots will continue to grow with new Western-influenced styles — mid-shaft boots emerge as an important height, and fringed trimmed items are a must-have. To highlight just a few [brands], Sam Edelman, Steve Madden and Vince Camuto register the biggest fashion trends. Michael Kors and Ivanka Trump consistently hit the target with great dress styles and 
look terrific.”

VP & DMM of women’s shoes, Saks Fifth Avenue
“The biggest trends we’re seeing are leopard prints, lots of captoes and mixed materials everywhere. There’s also a continuation of glitter and shine that will be important, and the predominant colors for fall are cobalt blue, aqua, burgundy and hunter green. The smoking shoe continues to be strong, and we’re seeing the menswear-inspired footwear trend become even more important this year, with moccasins and other styles. Single soles are also a big story this year. We particularly like the pointy-toe single soles we’re seeing.”

Fashion director of accessories, shoes & handbags, Bloomingdale’s

“Ankle booties are coming on with a vengeance for fall. A micro trend we’ve noticed are very subtle motorcycle inspirations in ankle and mid-shaft heights that look very clean to the eye. Pumps are going to explode in a much bigger way, and single soles rule the day for now. I love some of the loafers we’ve seen, as well as the smoking shoe with menswear inspirations. A strong jewel-tone story is coming through; oxblood red is very important, and we’re also excited about browns coming back. Via Spiga looks fantastic this season, with colors and silhouettes that were just right, as does Jean Michel Cazabat. Prada, Miu Miu, Diane Von Furstenberg and Sam Edelman all looked great as well. Marc by Marc Jacobs shines with a great use of wearable color, with some fantastic ankle boots in hunter green and oxblood.”

VP & DMM of shoes, Belk

“The trend we’re seeing for kids this fall is very casual [styles]. Denim-friendly colors and materials are in for all classifications of footwear.”

Style expert,

“For men, the classic silhouettes have a modern look with unexpected updates. We’re seeing mixed media for men as well, like patent leather with quilted side panels. There will [also] be an element of minimalism and nostalgia mixed in.”

Owner, Crimson Mim

“We’re moving forward with color and prints this fall, pairing unexpected pops of color and animal prints. In terms of texture and pattern, we’re most excited about polka-dot suede — as seen in several styles by Loeffler Randall — and patent leather with embellishments, printed snakeskin and calf-hair leopard patterns on everything from loafers to sky-high stilettos. The combination of the unexpected textures makes this trend exciting and alluring. Snake is everywhere, ranging in colors from bright reds and yellows to rich browns and blacks. Bettye Muller’s new collection incorporates suede wedge booties, patterned loafers and wooden-heel snake platforms.”

CEO, Madison

“We feel the continuation of low booties on stacked heels, as well as motorcycle boots, which are a staple at Madison, will be very important. Rag & Bone has been tremendous for us. Their low booties on heels are great-looking, comfortable and, at $495, very affordable. We also consistently sell a tremendous amount of flat motorcycle boots from Fiorentini & Baker.”

EVP & chief merchandising officer,

“This year’s focus is more toward casual styling versus dressy. We’re seeing a lot of attention to great leathers, reptile skins, suedes and the touch of fur, as well as lace throughout the market. An edgier biker style is also emerging in casual boots. Collections from brands such as Rockport, Vintage Shoe Co., Isola, Frye and Timberland have all incorporated a bit of the biker look. A lot of mixing of materials including soft leather, patent and flannel look great. Bold color combos and blocks will provide a bright splash, and buckles, zippers and buttons will continue to be a trendy embellishment. Key colors are gray, jewel tones and neutrals, with an emphasis on reds and burgundies, and metallics will still be important for a hint of glamour. Cold-weather boot collections that continue to provide more fashion and trend are Sorel, The North Face and Koolaburra.”

Footwear buyer, City Sports

“There’s been tremendous excitement around new cushioning platforms and midsole technologies the last few seasons, such as Brooks DNA, Nike Lunar, etc., and now there seems to be more emphasis on upper technologies, which bring some aesthetic excitement to a silhouette. Some of the products we’re seeing are a mash-up of the barefoot/minimalist trend and traditional running shoes, which is new to the market. We see a lot of potential with Adidas’ adiZero collection and New Balance with the excitement they continue to bring to their running line, as well as trail offerings, including the Minimus silo. Gore-Tex has been gathering momentum for the last several seasons as it partners with our best technical running vendors, such as Brooks, Nike,  Saucony and others, and it has collaborated on some great silhouettes. The Nike Air Pegasus+29, Saucony’s Kinvara and Asics’ Gel-Nimbus 14 all look very exciting for the upcoming season.”

Kids’ athletic buyer, Famous Footwear

The common theme throughout kids’ athletics this fall will be lots of color, with lightweight styles continuing to drive the kids’ running category. For fashion athletics, vulcanized canvas styles will remain strong, accented by color blocking. High-tops featuring different closures and material treatments will also be very popular with kids.”

Buyer, American Rag Cie

“In the early markets, we’ve seen a lot of spring trends carry over and look updated for fall. The 1990s-inspired wedges and platforms are popping up more than ever for women, and we’re excited about what we saw from Rachel Comey, Repetto and Freebird. For men, we’re noticing a lot of potential with fashion-inspired high-end sneakers and outdoor, rugged [looks] and military boots.”

Retail buyer for shoes & accessories, 

“I am seeing a lot of bright colors, especially in suedes, such as cobalt blue, emerald green, fuchsia and bright red. The other big story is that booties have been everywhere in the market. Women are seeing a longer life span on a bootie than a tall knee boot. They can wear booties from fall into spring, especially the peep-toe styles. Pumps have popped up in every collection, and many are moving toward a pointed toe. We’re also excited about the addition of Pierre Hardy to our matrix. He offers shoes from ballet flats to outrageous, 120-millimeter platform geometric booties.”

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