Friday, May 15, 2009




3:00PM, May 13th, 2009

Words, Images Judith Ecochard

Twice a year, Macy’s flagship store stages a press preview with select merchandise set to hit the retail racks. Attire is for women and men and is attractively displayed in a spacious penthouse. secluded from the bustling floors belonging to the largest department store in the world.

The staging area includes a planted terrazzo terrace with drop-dead views of the Empire State building.

Led by VP’s Russell Orlando and Nicole Fischelis, Macy’s fashion direction focuses on key fashion concepts for Fall---like the popular plaid/tartan prints, all shades of purple,

the quilted puffer nylon vests, motorcycle jackets, cardigan sweaters, sleeveless sheaths, leggings, boyfriend and skinny jeans etc. The store wisely offers their customers severally interpretations-of these looks--- at different price points…thereby casting a wide net to reel in consumers.

An example of this value/price combo is the Motorcycle Jacket , for example---is the edgy (Buffalo), the cool sophisticated (9 West) and the upscale clean (Calvin Klein).

Given the economic climes, and retail realities of shoppers shopping the competition ---a H&M or Target- for affordable fashion…Macy’ ramped up the exclusives too.

Anticipated top labels like Rachel Rachel Roy, Desiguar (a more accessibly priced Custo Barcelona like label from Spain that Fischelis discovered in London), and its own private label INC and INC Concepts (hip gals/ guys separates) Tasso Elba (men’s modern classic/career), Alfani (bags/shoes), the Charter Club (career women), CR and American Rag (guy’s bumped up denim lifestyle brands).

When we walked into the atelier set-up, we were bowled over by the snazzy mannequins outfitted in color block textiles sew into fitted dresses, coats…well really “ art pieces” of the Desiguar label. This entire line, according to Nicole, “is so special…and it’s totally the right time for it.”

We agree, as the looks we saw are a wonderful fusion of craft, bohemian, and streetwear -all at a “contemporary price point.”

Details like bold vintage buttons, unique trims, and amusing mashups of contrasting fabric squares give the eye catching attire-- heavy doses of sophistication. We can see even less fashion forward types opting for a punchy piece (a blouse for example), to add a bit of flourish to their basic wardrobe…New York black.

From a fitted outerwear- to fun harem denim cut “Jeans Vaquero” …this label has it going. A store in NY’s Soho just opened too---which should actually help Macy’s by familiarizing shoppers with this new to the USA company.

Bumping up it’s offerings---Macy’s Impulse RTW area now includes contemporary labels that make the store a one stop destination shopping experience.

In demand brands such as Francis,

French Connection, Laundry, Betsey Johnson,

See by Chloe, Adrienne Landau, Vivienne Tam, Armani Jeans, Barbour, Boss Orange, Ben Sherman, Iceberg (these four for men ), Just Cavalli, John Galliano,

Liquid (from California), and an amazing denim line Miss Me (the grommets and crystal back pocket embellishments are terrific and priced under $100!).

Rachel Rachel Roy is also generating big buzz as her chic modern outerwear, coquette frocks, plush hand bags, open toe shoes/boots and jewelry line is exclusive…and available in select Macy’s stores beginning in the summer..

A lot of posh elements from Roy’s main (pricier) line are here at lower costs---including painterly prints, . over sized multi strand chain necklaces and bracelets, and the dress tailored to look like a skirt/blouse combo.

For guys, there is a big push on Macy’s INC private label. For the Concepts line, we liked the gray military inspired jacket with nice pocket details.

We wanted the Cambodian jacket –with nifty embroidered patches---to be made for gals (us). Both are priced under $200…far less than some better known labels ---but not stinting on quality.

Macy’s is also “getting behind the cardigan”—including dapper shawl collar and v-neck button down versions.

INC Denim has a “more relaxed attitude” and is a “T shirt driven line”….with cool button downs in plaid, bumped up with a bit of Western swagger.

“A lot of bells and whistles for not a lot of money,” is obviously at work in the v-neck tees with edgy graphics and inks.

And the two new collections CR (“a take down from the Club Room) and American Rag--affordable slouchy denim driven line.

We liked the vintage vibe of CR’s plaid, washed/lived in plaid shirts and the poppin’ color palette of the knits.

American Rag nailed the men’s motorcyle jacket must have with pocket details…polished off with “T shirt” scarves in that Mid East pattern that endures.

Tasso Elba---is for the working guy with style. We liked the vests and a grey knit jacket that travels effortlessly.


Guys are hiking onto the alpine trend with sturdy leather lace ups and kickers at great price points (top pics-Kenneth Cole’s sample and Calvin Klein’s side zip boots).

Women’s styles for shoes match up with the smorgasbord of the clothing selections…like never out of style- animal prints in flats, stacked pumps and the popular peep toe.

Motorcycle and textured knee high, kinda chunky heels ruled for Fall… spike heels and thigh high boots aren’t served up.

Carryalls run the gamut---from satchels, clutches and hobo haulers. The bags come in patents, solid leathers and leather like… and woven leathers too. Dark shades, animal (zebra, leopard) and snake skin prints and tartans dominate.

As with the smashing line of cocktail frocks available in every shade of berry known to female kind (all under $500)…the haulers ( love the Steven by Steve Madden) …also range from deep purple grape to a mauve raspberry tones.

Lastly, leather gloves fit snuggly below the elbow more like the driving gloves our great grannie wore (vs last year’s craze for opera lengths).

We did preview a pair of oversized fur mittens that are the size of oven gloves!!!