Encore Presentation: Designers Step Up Legwear for Fall
Published: Monday, March 12, 2007
The legwear industry is looking to keep up the momentum after a strong comeback year.
Looks for fall are a bit more subdued, but fashion-forward, nevertheless. Color palettes range from charcoal to ivory and basic black with touches of metallic
and chunky sweater knits. Over-the-knee socks are also a fresh look.
"This season, legwear was all over the runways," said Sandra Wilson, accessories fashion director for Neiman Marcus, who cited shiny legwear, opaque and heavy ribbed tights and knee-high socks as key runway trends.
tight and ribbed textures [were key looks]," said Michael Fink, senior fashion director of Saks Fifth Avenue. "The majority of runway looks are footed, but the contemporary customer will love the footless. There's something for everyone
. This trend transcends all product levels."
Fink expects this fall's hosiery sales to exceed those of 2006.
"It's exciting to finally see legwear thought of as an accessory this season," said Julia Townsend, executive vice president and general manager of Kayser-Roth Corp., which owns the Hue and No Nonsense brands. "Because of this, we are expecting to at least double an increase from last year."
Hue offered tights and socks in black, brown gold and gunmetal laces with shiny Lurex
and flat knit tights in shades of tan and taupe.
"Designers are focusing on legwear this season as an accessory; everything stems from that," said Wayne Lederman, president of Leg Resource Inc., maker of Givenchy, Via Spiga, Andrea Jovine and private labels.
Lederman predicted a 20 to 25 percent sales increase this year. Givenchy offered fine knit lacy socks in tones of ivory and chocolate.
ETC Hosiery, which produces brands such as Chinese Laundry, has a sharp focus on legwarmers and knee socks for fall.
Wolford's Satin Deluxe line of netted and opaque tights were used in more than 40 shows this season, up from 20 last year.
"We are looking at another great year," said a Wolford spokeswoman, who noted that the Antonio Berardi-designed charcoal gray sweater tights epitomize the knit trend.
Newcomer Hansel From Basel, which launched last year, is having fun with the trends with striped over-the-knee socks featuring a woven-in knee patch and pom-pom-flecked thigh highs.
"Legwear is an affordable way to spice up any outfit," said the company's founder, Hannah Byun.
Searle has picked up knee-highs in zigzag and leaf pattern knits to coordinate with ankle boots. The retailer plans to merchandise legwear from brands such as Wolford, Only Hearts, Tart and Missoni with the apparel, rather than where it is now next to cash registers.
"Our customers usually do not use their legwear as a way to pop color into an outfit," said Rick Weinstein, director of sales and marketing at Searle, which has eight retail locations in Manhattan. "They prefer to add the color in with another accessory or clothing item like a hat or coat. Last year, everything looked wrong without a belt. This year, everything will look wrong without leggings
By Meghan Gerard