It may be nearing 90 degrees most days but retailers and designers are gearing up for the holiday season in full force. Holiday collections tend to hit stores in October at the same time as resort collections, but have a much shorter shelf life. Nevertheless it is a crucial season, and one that accounts for almost 50 percent of sales and profits for the full year for most retailers.
Banana Republic’s Creative Director Simon Kneen is betting on the “heroine and hero” for the upcoming holiday season. That inspiration translates to cocktail dresses in jewel tones (pictured above) and sparkly sequin blazers for women. The men’s collection took its cues from classic Americana and includes cable-knit sweaters and whimsical bow ties with prints of snowflakes or skiers.
Talbot’s Chief Creative Officer looked over photos from Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball, which took place at the Plaza Hotel in 1966, for inspiration for this year’s holiday collection. This translated into A-line dresses, a floor-length houndstooth skirt (pictured above) and plenty of leopard and jewel tone accents pieces like opera length gloves and clutches.
Loft’s holiday collection this season is all about cozy knits and faux fur scarves (pictured above) -- the kind of pieces you can imagine wearing huddling beside a fire at an Alpine ski lodge. Catherine Malandrino thought about easy cocktail dresses that will work just as well at an office party as they will at a New Year’s Eve blowout. They come in colors like cobalt blue, plum and fire engine red.
Just as important to retailers as dressing its customers for the holidays is being their go-to gift source. HSN is pushing Naeem Khan’s faux fur collection, in particular. Bergdorf Goodman’s gift offerings include an ornament in the mold of its women’s fashion director Linda Fargo (pictured below). Lastly, Lord & Taylor this season is highlighting items like studded minaudières and Laundry By Shelli Segal faux fur trapper hats.
Simultaneous to designer and retail holiday previews, there is a consumer holiday going on right now known “Christmas in July.” It got its name from a line in the 1892 opera Werther, in which children rehearse Christmas songs in the summer months. Now it has come to signify a period in the retail calendar that marks the halfway point between each holiday season, and a time when goods are heavily discounted. Retailers and designers are paying close attention to what is selling at the moment as sales during July correlate heavily with what will sell come the holiday season.
Published at 4:36 PM EDT on Jul 15, 2011