In Conversation With Saks Fifth Avenue Fashion Director Roopal Patel

Roopal Patel

Roopal Patel is a trailblazing New York-based trendsetter with a highly respected career in the fashion world. With impressive titles ranging from visual merchandiser to market editor, the ultra-chic tastemaker is now at the top of her field working with retail powerhouse Saks Fifth Avenue as the appointed fashion director. Recognized for her bold and brave buys, the front-row regular has worked alongside some of the world’s most prestigious designers from New York to Paris. Here, we caught up with Patel on which brands are on her must-watch list and what to expect for fall fashion from the runway to the red carpet.

We’ve seen beautiful hues on the red carpet this year. What do you think will dominate this fall?

“The fall collections, in general, were very glamorous and very sexy, sultry, and very elevated. I feel like there were two parts to it—neutral effortless chic and full-on glamour. When we look at Parisian fashion houses, in particular, you think of Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen with very dramatic and incredible evening wear. Valentino by Pierpaolo Piccioli is always a red carpet favourite. His couture collection was very dramatic evening with beautiful neon colourations, feathers, and embroideries. His ready-to-wear, with all of the gowns shown at the end, would be a top contender for TIFF red carpets I imagine. I also think there’s young favourites that a lot of up-and-coming starlets love, like Alexandre Vauthier. We see a lot of volume and fun with designers like Brandon Maxwell as well. His journey began on the red carpet as a stylist to Lady Gaga—he knows what a woman’s body needs as she’s walking the red carpet, anticipating that as a stylist and now a designer.”

Can you share your red carpet golden rule?

“I always go for the wow factor and recommend not wearing black for eveningwear. It’s very classic and can be a bit safe unless the silhouette and fabric are incredibly striking, I always encourage people to wear something a little bit more dramatic. I recommend people to wear something that shows off their personality, like what Prada recently did for Lucy Boynton at the Met Gala—they really had fun with it. It was head-to-toe glamour, which reflects on the red carpet as a whole. When you think about the red carpet, you are looking for that old royal Hollywood sense. There’s an art to getting dressed up for evening—as a woman I feel that we really get to enjoy that. Above all, the most important thing is that you’re comfortable in it.”

What is your most memorable red carpet moment from TIFF?

“Lady Gaga last season looked spectacular—she was wearing black but point taken that it was very architectural. The way it fit her body was so perfectly orchestrated, she was definitely a real favourite. TIFF is a little bit riskier in my opinion and avant-garde—people are willing to take chances that they wouldn’t at other red carpets, everyone shows a little bit of edginess.”

Fashion month is right around the corner, which designers are you most looking forward to seeing?

“I’m very excited to see Daniel Lee for Bottega Venetta‘s second collection. He is still new to the fashion world and I’m curious to see what he is going to do. I’m a huge fan of Brandon Maxwell. He won the CFDA award this year and we’re so excited to see how he develops. I’m also looking forward to the more contemporary designers like Staud and Ganni, even Paris Texas, which is an amazing on-trend boot brand we just picked up.”

Out of all the fashion capitals, which city do you adore the most?

“Paris—there’s something in the air, the shows are like a dream. Anthony Vaccarello for Saint Laurent had me at the first opening look. I wanted to be a Saint Laurent girl. Valentino, of course, as well every season, I’m gasping—the choreography, the clothing, the models are just insane. The craftsmanship blows you away truly.”