News & Runway

April Hennig: Diary of a Fashion Buyer

Being a contemporary buyer for Saks, New York Fashion Week (or Fashion Month, rather) means a few things.

Mainly, it’s late nights, early mornings, and working around the clock, preparing to embark on the new season.

But more excitingly, it is everything from market appointments, to shows, to chasing the next cool thing.

Follow me through some of the highlights of NY Fashion Week…

Part 3

Market begins right after New York Fashion Week. Over the course of the next couple weeks, I will be living in showrooms, seeing almost a hundred Spring 11 collections from contemporary designers.

This means visiting as many multi-vendor showrooms as possible to do quick overviews, getting information on anything new and emerging that we love, but also spending long hours taking notes, selecting advertising looks, and buying from designers we currently carry at Saks. Today I spent most of the day at Helmut Lang. The collection featured classic blazers and draped jersey pieces, along with updated prints and a beautiful soft color palette.

Part 2

The first weekend of NYFW is when the frenzy of shows usually start to become a blur. Most of the contemporary designers tend to show earlier in the week, so between Friday and Sunday, my team and I are bouncing all around trying to cover as much ground as we can, without becoming too exhausted.

From sheer skirts and open crochet tops at Rag & Bone, to all white ensembles at Alexander Wang, the major trends of the season begin to become glaringly obvious quickly. We also made sure to get to VPL, Edun, Erin Featherston, Band of Outsiders, Frank Tell, Malendrino, and a slew of others.

My favorite highlights of the weekend had to be the brigade of models that closed the Alexander Wang show, and exploring all the presentations at Milk, from colorful prints at Suno to the mystical hard, edgy stacked jewelry at Pamela Love. Milk Studios became the perfect place to contently stay out of the rain.

And, of course, I can’t forget the various carnival of celebrations conjured up by Ms. Wintour’s Fashion’s Night Out last Friday – which included watching Zac Posen give dance lessons at Saks, and bingo games with Peter Som and Rachel Roy.

Part 1

Hints of fall lingered in the New York City air today, but it was spring that was on everyone’s mind. The first day of Fashion Week began, whether we were ready for it or not.

There was a first-day awkwardness at Lincoln Center, because all the fashion veterans who were so used to the routine march at Bryant Park had to find new bearings.

I began my morning at Richard Chai Love, at a venue that worked with the mostly nude and grey color palettes. The collection played with proportions in its cropped tops, floor length dresses, and skirts. I loved the sheer, slightly ethereal, and chic feel.

Downtown at Vena Cava, shaped sculptures lined the center of the runway to play off the fresh color-blocked poppy, blue, tan, and black collection. Interesting halter neck lines, floor length skirts, and fun lace-up wedges abounded in the collection.

I ran in late to the Rachel Comey show, but got there just enough time to catch the mix of eclectic prints and fabrics I always look forward to from the designer.

Later, I fell in love with Kimberly Ovitz’s contemporary presentation. The collection was fresh and avant-garde, complete with intricate pleating, overly asymmetrical silhouettes, and oh-so-cool trench coats that made the look feel edgy.

I also popped into LnA to check out what the west coast designers had in store for casual.

Ending the night with a cocktail on the Milk penthouse roof, I happened to stick around long enough to watch Gang Gang Dance give an energized live performance.