Buchman, 52, will appear at Bloomingdale's in King of Prussia at 1 p.m. tomorrow for a reception and fashion show that will show off the colorful cues she has taken for spring from American couture designers Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, and Tracy Reese.
Featuring bright orange, yellow and raspberry and inspired by the work of abstract artists Alexander Calder and Willem de Kooning, Buchman's spring collection includes roughly 300 pieces. They are as simple as belted shirt dresses or as daring as a cropped white leather jacket.
Fancy ruffled skirts, fitted pantsuits, and silk blouses are also part of the collection.
"I love the bold splashes of color, the geometric shapes," Buchman said last week in a soft, measured voice that hinted at her Tennessee roots.
"It's sort of in the air . . . fashion is an evolution. We've just come off a period of no color, and now we are in the beginning of a color cycle. It's very exciting."
In an interview at her New York showroom, Buchman chatted about how this year's fashion trends could ease into the working woman's wardrobe.
Question: What is the working woman's most troublesome fashion challenge?
Answer: Sometimes, a woman's body image gets in the way. The minute she lets go of that and just has fun with it, it's easier for her to make fashion selections.
Q: What is it about her image?
A: Everybody has got different things. Women worry too much about conforming to some ideal that exists only on the pages of the fashion magazines. Most women do get beyond that. These are the same women who are running big companies and charities. I dress them. I don't design for a fashion ideal. I design clothes women can live in.
Q: What is the most important thing a woman should know about her body so she can remain fashion-forward?
A: The most important thing she can do is take an armload of clothes, go in the dressing room, and look at her "whole self." When a woman walks in a room, no one zeros in on her elbows, or her hips, or her thighs. When you look at someone, you look at the whole person.
When my customers can do that with new fashion, it's easier for them to open up to new trends and to try new things . . . whether it's a [new] color, like orange, or whether it's a silhouette. A woman needs to look at herself like someone meeting her for the first time, without comparison to any homogenized image she might get bombarded with in the media.
Q: What is your favorite era in American fashion history?
A: Now, of course! Right now! What's so fun about fashion is you have in your memory all the eras from before and . . . this is the blank page. . . .
Q: What's so exciting about now?
A: Now it's color, luxury, texture. The fabrics are really interesting. I'm excited about silhouettes . . . like making new jackets. I'm loving jackets now.
Q: What is the must-have spring fashion item?
A: Well, I guess it's color: No. 1. Get some color. Also, get some luxury.
Q: How do you define luxury?
A: Luxury can be leather. I also think of white as luxury, in a way. It's so perishable, and you have to replace it every year. And then get some denim. And get a jacket because jackets are hot.
Q: Is there any particular silhouette?
A: . . . The newest jackets are short. A little shapely. And I like them worn in mixed combinations. For instance, leather with denim. I'm wearing linen with leather. [She stands and gives a twirl. She's wearing a bright orange linen jacket and a pair of mustard leather pants with a slight flair on the bottom. Her neck is covered in chunky gold jewelry.]
. . . It's important that women pay attention to the subtle changes in fashion. [For spring,] the shoulders are narrower than they were before. The jackets are shorter. Skirts are a big interest. There is a whole movement toward A-line and sexy at the bottom, with a lot of movement and a little flirty.
Q: Do you have a favorite piece in the spring collection?
A: I think it's the white leather jacket. . . . It has a lot of things I was talking about. It's got white, texture, luxury, and it travels well.
Q: Do you have any favorite designers?
A: Me . . . just me . . . I wear my own clothes. I pay attention to other designers and admire the work of different designers, but it's kind of a collegial thing. I'm interested in my clothes and for the woman that I'm dressing. Other than that, I like to spend time with my family and reading, and believe me, that is enough.
Contact fashion writer Elizabeth Wellington at 215-854-2704 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dana Buchman's spring line
At Bloomingdale's, Court at King of Prussia, 1 p.m. tomorrow. Free admission; reservations required, call 610-337-6279.