Roopal Patel, a Senior Vice President of Saks Fifth Avenue, is a highly respected tastemaker in the world of fashion. Within the ever-changing landscape of trends, Roopal holds an important role in translating and curating the messages from runways to what makes it to your local Saks Fifth Avenue. We were lucky to catch her at Saks Fifth Avenue in Bal Harbour for a chat about her personal style, work process and the upcoming trends we will be seeing in 2020.
Good afternoon, Roopal! We are very excited to have the opportunity to chat with you about fashion today. Thank you so much for giving us some time. How do you feel today?
I feel amazing! Who doesn’t love to be in Miami’s sunshine? Thank you so much for coming to Saks Bal Harbour. I’m excited to talk to you about some of the things we have going on for the Spring season at Saks.
Great! Let's get into it! You are the one who creates the Saks It-List. Please tell us more about the process; what goes into putting all of the information together? Where do you start?
Putting the Saks It-List together is one of our favorites things to do at Saks. It happens quite often actually! We see a lot of runway shows, for both men and women. Then, our team gets into a room and narrows down the trends that we are excited about. It’s really about the bigger picture, the messaging and how it translates across all channels. Our job is to be the curator and translator of the fashion, messages, trends of designers being sent down the runways. We make sure that the vision and message are translatable to the Saks customer, regardless of where they are - making it easy and accessible.
How exciting! It takes a village! Please tell us about the trends that you are most excited about in the next Spring and Summer season?
There are so many! One of the trends I’m most excited about the idea of white-out. Coming from so much color, print and pattern, I like the idea that designers are treating white as a new neutral that you can wear year-round now. Also, I have to say I’m super excited about this trend that we are calling Natural Wonders. It’s as if designers went on holiday, visited local artisans and brought back hand-crocheted pieces.
Are we going to see you in a crochet dress anytime soon?
Yes, I love crochet! I like things that have an artisanal feeling, I love making it feel super signature on my own. Especially during Spring and Summer.
You’re doing the multiple trend reports throughout the year and you probably see a lot of trends that come and go. So, how do you know what trends will last be gone in one season?
It’s a very good question! There are trends that are here today and gone tomorrow but you need to be able to incorporate them into what’s happening now. We’re not here to reinvent the trend, we’re here to communicate the message of the designers. I do think there are trends that are born one season, that live for three or four seasons and then disappear. One example of this trend was the New Neutrals that we saw begin Winter 2019 with designers like Bottega Veneta. Sometimes there’s that “investment trend” that has staying power for the long haul. You know when you get a whiff of those and you’re like - this is not going anywhere!
Its interesting to see what comes, goes and stays! I personally love the neutrals.You inspire women on a daily basis with your style, including me! We love to see all of your Instagram looks and your street style. Do you feel any pressure when getting dressed for the next big event?
Since I was a child I loved getting dressed up! This brought me into fashion in the first place. This idea of social media, street style, and photography came into play this last decade. When I get dressed, I don’t think about “is this going to be photographed today?”. It doesn’t occur to me. To me is more important to ask “do I feel good? do I feel beautiful, or do I feel strong?”. It’s all about feeling comfortable with what you are wearing. It’s amazing to be able to communicate fashion and your personal style, but it’s an added bonus to feel good in your clothes. I love fashion and celebrating designers. I feel really lucky and blessed to do this.
How would describe your personal style?
It is feminine for sure! But I am forty-five now and I don’t want to be so serious with my style because of my age. I love bright colors, prints, and patterns! When it comes to my style - it’s feminine, eclectic, flirty and a bit bohemian.
Are there any cool new designers that you are excited about?
Yes, it’s such a good time for new talent in our industry I feel. I’m obsessed with Khaite! It’s a brand out of New York. Its minimal, basic essential with that twist of Americana. I love what Laura, Kim and Fernando Garcia are doing at Oscar De La Renta. It is really fresh and incredibly vibrant. We’re bringing in a new brand called “Awake out of London” and I think what she’s doing of minimal dressing. I think there’s a lot of exciting talent out there.
It’s definitely a new time in the fashion industry. What is the season of the year that you like to dress up the most for and why?
I really think Spring/Summer has fewer rules. I don’t like rules when dressing. I think it's really free-spirited, super care-free but I think there’s more pressure in Spring/Summer since it’s hot. The idea to let yourself go, but to be dressed and polished. I think there’s something about being sun-kissed, tan and feeling good. It’s so much more fun.
In your opinion, what is a must-have color for the Spring/Summer season?
So, we know how I feel about white, but I do think this idea of neutrality with khaki, tan and beige play out in a really nice way. I do have another color - Orange. I love this idea of sunset shade like pinks and oranges. We saw a lot of orange on the runway this season.
Please tell our readers about any exciting new projects you are working on.
We have so many projects going at Saks that are super exciting. I think for now I’m doing all of these store tours in Florida, then there are things coming down the line that you’ll hear about. As of right now getting ready to go to Men’s Fall 2020 in January so my fashion marathon is really off for January, February, and March. Between men and women’s, this really is a marathon.