As the Vice President of men’s sportswear and footwear at Bergdorf Goodman, Mimi Fukuyoshi oversees all merchandising direction and product assortment for the gent’s side of the famed department store. With the Fall/Winter 2013 collections in stores now and the Spring/Summer 2014 shows to a close, we spoke with the retail industry power player on just which brands we should be watching out for, the must-have staples for men this season, and more.
Thinking back to the Fall/Winter 2013 collections, what was your favorite collection or designer that our readers should watch out for in Bergdorf now and why?
It’s actually one that isn’t even in Bergdorf Goodman yet — Berluti. We are launching it for Spring/Summer 2014 as the sole retail partner in the world and the shop opens in December. I wasn’t lucky enough to attend the Fall 2013 show in Paris as I was still in Milan finishing up buys, but I heard it was quite a spectacle. It was held at the Museum of Natural History amongst the taxidermy and, just as the show started, it began to snow. And that’s not even mentioning the clothes. The clothes are the ultimate in artisanal luxury, a new take on classics. All silhouettes that you’ve seen before but done in the most luxurious fabrics with the most beautiful draping and incredible colors. Just stunning.
Is there a big difference you see between runway trends and retail trends? How did the Fall 2013 collections influence your merchandising direction?
Definitely. What I think the layperson doesn’t know is that 75% of our orders are placed well in advance of the runway shows. In addition, much of what is shown on the runway isn’t even produced [for sale] but is only shown for effect. This is especially true for menswear.
What would you say is the most important menswear staple that guys must have this fall and winter seasons?
A decent bag. No more stuffing things in pockets. With all of the accoutrements a gentleman needs to carry around these days, a good bag is necessary and there are so many solid choices these days. I quite like an updated briefcase, like this one from Ghurka. Their bags are made out of Norwalk, Connecticut, since 1975 and will last you forever. This also comes in twill, which is a lighter weight and less expensive option.
For the holidays coming up, what brands or designers should we look to for the best new year’s party get up?
Tom Ford. It’s chic and sexy with just a touch of whimsy. I think he does modern black tie better than anyone.
Moving onto Spring 2014, what was your favorite collection or designer from this season?
We are excited about adding Valentino to our mix for Spring 2014.
Do you see any interesting shifts or changes in the menswear market right now?
I don’t think heritage or Americana or whatever you want to call it is ever going to go away completely. It’s just too comfortable and understandable for most men. But there was a shift in the last few years toward Italian sprezzatura — colorful and patterned sportcoats, pocket squares, et cetra. And now we’re seeing a backlash against that and a movement toward dark, monochromatic, drapey clothing along the lines of Rick Owens.