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Fashion forecasts for 2010

The new year will bring a mix of the familiar (Forever 21 and home shopping networks) and the new (Brazil-mania and Alice in Wonderland tie-ins).

January 03, 2010|By Booth Moore, Adam Tschorn and Melissa Magsaysay >>>
(Disney Enterprises, Inc.;…)

In the world of fashion and style, the calendar flip to a new year is something akin to getting the key to a brand-new, bare-to-the-walls walk-in closet right next to the one we just finished filling up. What goes into the new space depends a lot (but not entirely) on what came before.

In 2010, that means more traction for the familiar -- Forever 21, home shopping networks, Americana -- while adding some foreign influences (the ascent of Brazil) into the trend mix as well. But the biggest shift in the fashion and style realm might very well be in process rather than product; now that we can have anything we want when we want it, perhaps we'll give more thought to how it gets from point A to point B. What follows is a little crystal-ball gazing from the Image staff.

Forever 21

Thakoon for Target, Jimmy Choo for H&M, Christopher Kane for Topshop -- in 2009, you couldn't swing a shopping bag without hitting a new cheap-chic designer collection.

While those fast-fashion chains grabbed headlines, opened pop-up shops and hosted celebrity events, Forever 21 was the quiet giant, growing sales from $1.7 billion to more than $2 billion and launching its own magazine, cosmetics collection and a plus-size line called Faith 21.

Founded in 1984 by Korean immigrants, Forever 21 has 460 stores worldwide. In 2010, it will launch a new kids concept, for ages 7 to 14, and open more than 80 new locations, including megastores in Japan, Europe and New York's Times Square.

What is Forever 21 doing right? "They have held their prices well below other teen apparel retailers at the mall," says Brian Sozzi, a retail analyst for Wall Street Strategies, a market research firm in New York. (At Forever 21, a bubble hem party dress costs $29, and an armful of sparkly bracelets is just $6.80.)

Jane Buckingham, founder of the L.A.-based marketing and consulting firm Trendera, said, "Forever 21 gets the trends right. You look like you're fashionable but don't feel like you've spent a fortune if it falls apart."

The chain has taken advantage of the recession's glut of vacant retail real estate to expand from mall-based stores into big-box locations. The prototype for the new stores is based on the 86,000-square-foot Forever 21 outpost opening in Cerritos this month.

"Going into a Forever 21 store is an experience," Sozzi said. "You want to stay awhile."

All things Alice

Look for fashion/entertainment synergy to break new ground this year, including novel partnerships for on-screen placement and higher-profile designer collaborations. One of the first down the rabbit hole in that regard will be Tim Burton's live-action "Alice in Wonderland" remake, due to open March 5.

In addition to Disney Consumer Products' official high-style tie-ins with jewelry makers (Tom Binns, Swarovski) and clothing designers (Stella McCartney is among those rumored) set to roll out in conjunction with the film's release, Lewis Carroll inspiration is popping up like hallucinogenic mushrooms after an acid rain. The recent holiday window displays at Bergdorf Goodman in New York bore an Alice in Wonderland theme, and in March, Parisian department store Printemps reportedly plans to unveil window displays of custom "Alice" dresses by the likes of Alexander McQueen and Christopher Kane.

Designers recently name-checking Lewis Carroll and his creations include Donatella Versace, Jason Wu, Kenzo's Antonio Marras, and Zac Posen. A self-professed lifelong fan of all things Alice, Posen has collaborated on a collection of Wonderland-themed jewelry and recently unveiled a pre-fall 2010 collection that he describes as "Lewis Carroll meets Paloma Picasso," which includes thigh-length, Alice-appropriate dresses in mad, mad plaids. He explained there are several things that play into the fomenting fashion fixation.

"First, there's a real sense of escapism and imagination to it that I think is important in popular culture right now," he said. "And Alice and 'Through the Looking Glass' have really become a part of the fashion vernacular." He pointed to everything from the familiar iconography of the tea party accouterments and playing cards to "the woman dressing as a little girl in a shrunken dress, and the black, white and red colors, and even the dandy tweed suit."

Home shopping networks

QVC has Isaac Mizrahi, Dennis Basso and Rachel Zoe. HSN has Badgley Mischka, Naeem Khan, Loulou de la Falaise, Carlos Falchi and Sean John. Though a future merger of the two networks is still up in the air, one thing's for sure -- with edgier designer collaborations, and glossy magazine and fashion week tie-ins, it will become increasingly chic to shop your TV screen.

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