Top fall trends and behind the scenes at Fash Bash 2017 with Neiman Marcus Style Director Ken Dewey.
Ken Dewey has been with Neiman Marcus for 17 years, currently as Style Director for the Somerset-Troy location. His sharp eye, charisma and ability to make people look and feel their best, have made him one of the most trusted fashion resources in the area.
I recently had the opportunity to talk all things fall fashion and Fash Bash 2017 with Ken Dewey. He gives us the scoop on his favorite fall trends from the runway to real life, what it’s like working with Neiman Marcus’ other Ken, fashion expert Ken Downing, and what we can expect at Fash Bash this year.
1. What trends will we be seeing this upcoming fall season?
For women, reds, velvet, modern suiting, leather jacket, covered leg, booties, the soft hobo, and charms. For men reds, the plaid jacket, the plaid shirt, velvet, runners, camouflage, and dark denim. For the past few season women’s and mens trends have been very concurrent.
2. What is your favorite fall 2017 trend and why?
I have two favorite trends, empowering reds and velvet, because they transcend all genders. Red is not limited to just one shade this season, we’ll be seeing bordeaux, burgengry, fire engine red, pomegranate, and plum. It’s also my favorite trend because almost anyone can wear red if they select the right shade that works for them and their skin tone.
Having a fabrication trend such as velvet is great because it can be morphed into every type of garment or accessory from head to toe. From shoes, to dresses, to jackets, velvet covers everything. It can also be worn year round in the right textile. Keep an eye out for velvet at Fash Bash this year. We may see some of the co-chairs wearing it!
3. Are there any new lines you’ll be introducing this upcoming season?
So much is happening at Neimans right now. We just got Cinq A Sept in for our CUSP department and I absolutely love it, and Balmain is brand new to the Detroit store as well. Also, we just introduced Calvin Klein, and we are the only store in the marketplace to carry it. Pascal Millet is also a new designer for us.
It’s our second season with Rosseta Getty, but she’s so hot right now, I had to mention her. She has a lot of velvets and reds in her collection.
Nour Hammour’s line features a lot of leather jackets, which is a huge fall trend, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a typical black biker jacket. They have been recolored and feature a lot of embellishments and embroidery this season. The more embellishments and embroidery the better!
Every designer that we carry has done something exclusive for Neiman Marcus, so even if we’ve carried them for years or just introduced them, there’s always new and exciting things going on with all of them.
4. Name one or two of your favorite designers/brands right now and why?
There is never a dull moment at the House of Chanel. God bless Karl Lagerfeld. There is never a season where you are disappointed in the themes or the concept, he goes from a rocket ship to hosting a luncheon at the Ritz seamlessly. Chanel never disappoints, ever.
My other favorite is a Belgian designer, Dries Van Noten. The longevity of this man alone is incredible. From the prints, to the combinations of fabrications, to the layering, he’s just such an expert and it’s so sophisticated.
5. The one fashion piece that you can’t live without?
I just ordered it from Tom Ford, a camouflage cashmere jacket. I haven’t worn camo in a while but it’s a trend now!
6. What’s one piece that you think that every woman should have in their closet?
Back to the leather jacket! But it doesn’t have to be leather it can be suede, it can be a bomber, it can be long, it can be a safari jacket, in whatever color looks best on you. You can put it on over a dress, or over jeans, you can wear it with everything. It’s an investment because it’s expensive, but it’s worth it.
7. Some advice on how to transform runway style to real life, every day wear?
We’ve done a couple of fashion shows where we do runway to “real way,” where we take something from the fine apparel floor and show how it translates into CUSP or the women’s dress department very easily. You can take the things you see on the runway and translate it into something that will truly work for you by asking yourself what you can do to adapt it to yourself?
Also understanding the difference between “on trend” and “trendy” is really important. Trendy is over about 3 months and on trend is a nod to what’s going on, and if you’re smart you’ll purchase things that have longevity to them. And tailoring is key! You can take an inexpensive dress and fit it to death and make it look really expensive.
8. Where do you find fashion + style inspiration?
Im an old throwback, but fashion shows are such an inspiration to me. I love to see how the designers come up with the colors, silhouettes, and concepts.
I also find inspiration on the streets. A few years ago when I was covering the shows in Europe, I was in Milan for the first time and I was so impressed by the women’s fashion sense there. They were the chicest women I’ve ever seen in my whole life! Fantastic heels, a great dress, a fur coat with a cross body bag, walking down those cobblestone streets, so chic!
9. How many years have you been with Neiman Marcus?
How long have prehistoric animals been around? This time around it will be 6 years in October. Prior, before working for another retail company in between, I was here for 11 years, so 17 years total.
Now on to Fash Bash…
10. How many years have you been involved with Fash Bash?
6 years. Neiman’s has been doing it for 7, but when I came back from my previous retail gig, they had already done one in August, so I missed the first time we were involved.
11. What’s it like working with Ken Downing?
Heaven! He’s been with Neiman Marcus for 20-25 years. He did a luncheon at our Troy location and immediately started to fall in love with Detroit. He really enjoyed the store and our clientele. They told me thatKen & I were going to do the show together and I initially refused because I didn’t think I was worthy of being up on that stage with him. But I ended up accepting the proposition and that was the first time we worked together, it was a dream come true. They called it “Ken & Ken on Trend.” It was so much fun working with him and having his presence here is such an inspiration.
12. Any insight to what the process is like? What is it like backstage?
It’s quite the process. Ken is coming in with his assistant, and his assistant is bringing an assistant. He’ll go down to the DIA to get the final look of the overall space. He’ll come back and his mind will be spinning with all of these ideas. We then bring in samples from designers and pull tons of product from the floor, and his process begins. Then he does a Fox 2 segment, fittings on Wednesday, and then checks everything out on Thursday and takes it to DIA. Before you know it it’s a quarter to 8 and everyone’s getting dressed for the show. Ken is heavily involved in styling them, he touches every single model and everything on them. He makes all the little provisions. There were 40 models last year, and this year there will be 50. It’s a lot, but here at Neiman’s we consider Fash Bash the launch of the fall season, so it’s a big deal.
13. What is your favorite part or thing about Fash Bash?
I have three things that I love about Fash Bash. One, it’s just an over the top show. It’s incomprehensible what happens at this event. Two, the people watching. I love Detroit fashion, everyone is crazy, you see everything from sophisticated to outlandish outfits. But the ultimate favorite thing to me is what the money goes to. Every penny of the ticket price is underwritten, it all goes to the DIA. We have all the sponsors, and the after party, and then this year elevated the whole thing by putting in the riviera court, and raising the ticket price, that brings in another $100,000. The DIA is an important institution to the city.
14. Where do you think about the future of fashion going in Detroit?
I was here when the riots happened and when all of the retailers moved to the suburbs, so now to see the resurgence of the city is mind boggling. The young talent is great and all of these new fashion incubators, such as Detroit Denim is wonderful. NS
Thank you to Ken Dewey, for a behind the scenes look at fall fashion, his personal styling advice, and Fash Bash. For details and tickets to Fash Bash 2017, go to dia.org/fashbash2017 and be sure to follow the DIA’s Founders Junior Council, as we take over their Instagram page to take you behind the scenes this Thursday, August 17th!