Results Are In: The Season’s Best-Sellers

Fall 2010's Best-Sellers

Photos: | | courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue

Lanvin Quilted Ouloulette Bag, Wyler fox fur vest, and Christian Louboutin Miss Fast bootie.

For every season, there are two ways to determine which clothes mattered to us: what sailed down the runway and what actually sold in stores. We learned Fall 2010's fashion story and its main themes―camel coats, eye-popping colors, '50s flair, and fur galore―but did we actually buy any of it? In a word: sometimes.

With the season coming to an end, we were curious about what the big sellers were and whether geographic location had any bearing on what we bought. To find out, we conducted an unscientific survey of some of the nation's most compelling high-end department stores, boutiques, and specialty shops.

What did we learn? Fall 2010 was a season of pragmatic shopping—not a surprise, given the current economic situation.  When we spent our money, we spent it thoughtfully, favoring timeless staples over distracting, momentary glamour. But when it comes to accessories, we're willing to let the priorities slide, if just a bit.

Interestingly, geography didn't provide the statistical curveballs we might have expected. Women in Los Angeles seem to be on the same general wavelength as shoppers in Chicago and New York—though flat boots and brogues, as well as versatile, well-fitting denim, seem especially important to West Coast shoppers.

Fur was a winner in colder regions, obviously, but it scored high sales at high-end national chains, too, especially when used as accent pieces.

“Across the board, outerwear—especially coats with novelty details like toggle buttons, military details, fur and faux-fur collars and accent—sold very well,” said Saks Fifth Avenue fashion director Colleen Sherin.

Trenchcoats and outerwear with a masculine bent also performed universally well, proving that androgyny is no longer merely a Gotham-based phenomenon.

For major luxury labels, we still turn to tried-and-true names like Saks and well-known smaller stores. The top sellers at Chicago’s Ikram boutique, for example, were Azzedine AlaÏa, Chanel, and Junya Watanabe.

“Everyone bought the AlaÏa separates as a sweater set,” Ikram’s founder, Ikram Goldman, said. “They replaced the white shirt for the season.”

Similar smaller, carefully curated boutiques like Kirna Zabête in New York City and Relish in Washington, D.C., lured locals with exclusives from power brands like Céline and Marni.

“A silk evening Lanvin bag features a clever trick: The chain comes off and can be a necklace, belt, or multistrand necklace,” said Kirna Zabête head buyer Sarah Easley. “The Céline bag is a timeless investment piece and part of the new, sleek mood we are feeling right now. "

We did encounter a few delightful aberrations that defied all consumer expectations based on region and even climate: For example, at Forty Five Ten—Dallas's go-to destination for progressive design—Balenciaga leather pants flew off the shelves despite the city's enviably balmy winters.

FashionEtc checked in with retailers in California, Washington, Colorado, Texas, Illinois, D.C., and New York to get a broad overview of fall’s shopping climate. Though not exhaustive, the below list offers a glimpse of how retail fared last season and an interesting look at what we’re actually buying. Trends or not, these are the items that resonated with consumers.


Saks Fifth Avenue (Nationwide)

Proenza Schouler duffle coat ($1,600)

Christian Louboutin exclusive Miss Fast bootie ($1,095)

Intermix (Nationwide)

PRPS exclusive fur-trimmed camouflage parka ($598)

Adrienne Landau & Wyler fur vests and jackets ($695 to $1,495)

J Brand wax Houlihans ($298)

Kirna Zabête (New York)

Lanvin quilted Ouloulette bag ($1,185)

Céline Box bag (price available upon request; exclusive at SoHo location)

SEVEN New York (New York)

House of Holland Chain Garterbelt and Black Bandana stockings ($28.50)

Relish (Washington, D.C.)

Marni fur-trimmed accessories, ranging from shoes ($950) to outerwear ($2,000 and up) to clutches ($975)

Louis Boston (Boston)

C. Greene snake cuff ($3,350)

Ikram (Chicago)

Junya Watanabe camouflage leggings ($85)

Chanel faux-fur bags ($2,000 white, $2,450 black)

Azzedine AlaÏa polo bodysuit ($1,155) and cardigan ($1,345), and laser-cut, pony construction lace-up boots ($3,305)

She (Chicago)

Smythe Cadet Jacket in Surplus Green ($592)

Forty Five Ten (Dallas)

Balenciaga leather pants in grey and black ($1,445)

Carole’s Couture (Phoenix)

James Jeans Reboot jeans ($146) and vintage jewelry ($200)

Hub, Phoenix (Scottsdale, Ariz.)

Levi's Made & Crafted High Skinny jeans in Clean Black ($195)

TOMS shoes in various styles ($50 to $80)

Blush (Denver)

Shashi bracelets ($34 to $95) and Chan Luu wrap bracelets ($150 to $250)

Totokaelo (Seattle)

Dieppa Restrepo Black Cali shoe ($250)

Flaunt (Danville, Calif.)

Michael Stars striped, cashmere-blend, open-wrap cardigan ($198)

Elizabeth Charles (New York and San Francisco)

Nellie Partow Cyrus sherling vest ($1,495)

Azalea (San Francisco)

A.P.C. trenchcoat ($445)

Fred Segal (Los Angeles)

The Battalion faux-fur vest ($248)

Heist (Los Angeles)

Faliero Sarti scarves ($250 to $550)

Madison (Los Angeles)

Fiorentini + Baker Emma boot ($595) and three-buckle Eternity boot ($545)

White + Warren sweater duster in Biscuit ($265)

Ten Over Six (Los Angeles)

Rachel Comey Mars short boot ($350)