What’s in store for the season?
Fall fashion is upon us. Coats, sweaters, boots, and warmer color palettes fill the stores. We love the look – the layers, the textures of the fabrics, the feelings that are conjured up of childhood or that long family getaway to see and feel the seasonal change. Yes, we love fall clothing, but do we need it here in September? September is one of our hottest months! So what about us?
We decided to focus on two global brands and one local brand that truly understand our climate and lifestyle, all year round. Vacation-style dressing is the backbone of their brands. And they bring us quality fashion that we can wear here and now.
320 San Lorenzo Ave. #1240
Tommy Bahama was founded in 1993, based on the simple but oh so relevant and clever idea: Men’s clothing that allowed you to never really leave the beach, psychologically anyway, and to live on island time, sort of. The concept took off as it offered what no one else did at the time, an escape from reality, even if just for a weekend lunch in your friend’s back-yard. The silky, tropical print shirts and shorts quickly elevated “that guy” who dressed in vacation garb, to be able to wear his pieces anywhere and feel happy while doing it.
Fun fact: My husband is friends with one of the three founders of Tommy Bahama, and none of them are named Tommy. Tommy is fictional. Sorry, but he’s still a lot of fun. The official take: “The Tommy Bahama man is confident, fun-loving, adventurous, active, family-oriented, and the life of the party.”
The brand evolved into a lifestyle for their guy, offering a full men’s – and women’s – collection that ultimately included shoes, houseware, furniture, cologne, etc. If you haven’t walked into their store in Merrick Park, do so. The store’s visual aesthetic and scents speak tropical getaway.
I interviewed Bradley O’Brien, EVP of Design, Product Development and Creative Services at Tommy Bahama to talk about what their clients will find in the store this fall that will complement the “island vibe style” while easing back into getting dressed after a pandemic. O’Brien says that “the macro trend of tech fabrics and performance features are still important to our guests.” Fabrics can still look polished, but performance features add an extra dose of comfort by using stretch. They are quick dry and easy to care for. That ease and comfort is especially in demand right now. Even the top design studios are showing drawstring pants and elasticized waists for both men and women. “As we start to emerge from the pandemic, comfort and versatility are still important as well as color,” says O’Brien.
Since it is fall, the days of silk prints and shorts are now paired back to a full collection of soft knits, sweaters, French terry, and corduroy. “Tommy Bahama looked to the rugged and spectacular coastline of Northern California for design inspiration,” says O’Brien. “Deep mineral and indigo blues, rich merlot, warm sandy grays, and unexpected pops of tangerine and heather purples are drawn from the wintery ocean, calming marine layer and brilliant and awe-inspiring sunsets.”
342 San Lorenzo Ave. #1025
120% LINO is our next global brand. They are truly the “Natural Luxury Linen” people; it says so on their website. And in case you wondered about the brand’s signature name, 120% refers to the expression that “more than 100 percent” goes into every collection.
Lino was founded in 1983 by Italian stylist Alberto Peretto. While browsing in London’s Camden market he found an old men’s linen jacket. Peretto realized that this quality no longer existed, so he set out to create a brand to make it attainable again – and even more so. He wanted to satisfy “A yearning for a more authentic past when timeless, well-tailored garments were stitched from sustainable, naturally luxurious fabrics.” Indeed, linen in the past was worn more by aristocrats than the “average” person.
The brand’s European roots still exist today; high-quality linen comes from the flax plant grown in France and is then produced in Bologna, Italy. Today, 120% Lino can be found in high-end stores such as Neiman Marcus and Saks, and in specialty boutiques worldwide. Our outpost here in the Gables is home to the brand’s first U.S. retail store. I spoke with Director
of Retail Stores, Marisa Pepper-Lang, about the brand’s identity. “The applications the brand uses are unique and were rarely done to linen when Peretto started the company. Garment dying, pintuck details, embroidery, printed linen, and embellishments, set them apart from others, as does the high quality of the linen.” Linen, if it comes from the right flax plant, is a very strong sustainable fiber. As the brand evolved, the classic linen pieces in the stores were paired with featherweight cashmere sweaters and silk and cashmere scarves and wraps. This August, Lino introduced their first Pre-Fall Capsule collection, with gorgeous hues of blue and green, prints with some slightly heavier linens, and pieces blended with silk blocking.
Clients will find that the brand now has everything you need for your wardrobes, including outfits that work in a warm-weather place. Lino offers cashmere wraps and colorful bold jewelry that pairs perfectly with their neutral and soft color palettes. They have also introduced a collection of everyday leather handbags and beachside essentials (hats and totes). But it is the feel and breathability of the fabric, the causal, effortless, but chic style of linen, that clients appreciate.
The Colors of Fall
4217 Ponce de Leon Blvd.
Filomena Fernandez, our final brand, is purely local, or at least locally based. Nine years ago, having spent two decades promoting the Kyoko Higa brand in the U.S., Venezuela native Maritza Fernandez decided to launch her own atelier and design shop in Coral Gables. Today the Filomena Fernandez line (named after her grandmother Filomena) has become a favorite of city fashionistas.
What makes Fernandez’s clothing innovative is that, despite the quality of her world-class designs for blouses, dresses, skirts, and jackets, she is on a quest to make high fashion affordable. Three years ago, she decided to forgo the mass market and to instead produce only “prêt-à-porter” or ready-to-wear clothing for her own shop.
“We do a fall line,” says Fernandez. “It’s called fall-winter because in fashion you have to do the seasons. But the truth is it’s fall colors, with a little bit of more earthy tones, like the leaves. But the material almost remains the same. We still use cotton, silks, and the techno-fabrics – the ones that are made of natural fabric with some synthetic fabrics so you can have stretch and make it easier to take care of. So, it’s more comfortable and doesn’t wrinkle as much.”
Fernandez also says that while the fabrics remain the same, she uses them in slightly heavier variations. “We like to use those in the winter. We try to change them a little bit because you need a richer look, and when you have a fabric that has a thicker texture, then it looks a little richer than a thin fabric,” she says, though she is quick to add: “That doesn’t mean you go into wools. Even the best quality is not for Miami.” Her collection includes one or two sweaters, and a couple of coats, mostly for people who travel.
As for what to expect from the fall lineup, “I try to stay within the colors I like,” she says. “Whatever is going to be more popular, we try to follow a little bit of that. But it has to be a color that talks to me. Turquoise or royal blue don’t talk to me, so I never use them.” Instead think mustard yellow and terra cotta, earth tones mixed with a little bit of brighter colors.
“I also love to use animal prints in the fall,” she says. “And I like a print with stamps. Since we’re not traveling that much, we need to communicate the old way.”
- Kim Rodriguez is a Personal Stylist and Shopper whose clients include many Coral Gables residents. krpersonalstyle.com