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Roopal Patel Talks Bright Colors, What Designers Are Doing Them Best, and the Spring Bag She's Already Pre-Ordered

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Moda Operandi recently tapped Roopal Patel as its new fashion director, but she still hit the road with Neiman Marcus (most recently, she was their Senior Market Accessories Director) for a series of in-store appearances. For her final stop, she visited the San Diego location wearing a blazingly orange Stella McCartney dress ("This is my fourth or fifth orange dress") and peacock blue Prada shoes to prove that bright, bright colors have a rightful place in winter wardrobes.

Sadly, she kept mum about her move to Moda Operandi, but sat down with Racked San Diego correspondent Chantal Gordon to share what she has pre-ordered for spring, how to do neon in the winter, and what will take the place of friendship bracelets on your favorite street-style muses.

You recently tweeted your love for resort neon. If we can't make it to St. Barth this winter, what's a good way to do cool-weather fluo in the city?
People haven't seen neon in quite some time, and it's pretty scary for the average, everyday woman. I think bright orange is really chic and beautiful paired back to camel, and really gorgeous when paired back to gray. It's a beautiful way to update those beautiful shades of fall/winter. I love the idea of hot pink and grey as well.

I think I must have been six or seven years old—this was in the '80s, and Madonna [and] Wham rage was in vogue—and I remember pairing my hot pink top with black pants. I think the bright [colors] back to black is very reminiscent of '80s New Wave that was really important. It’s [also] really easy to pair bright pink or acid green with a super chic white suit.

What designers are doing it best?
You're going to see Phoebe Philo at Céline offering her classic shopper tote in bright pink, yellow and electric blue. Fendi's got these great colorblocked pumps; I love the idea of two trends in one. Then there's a watersnake pump from Fendi that's in a DayGlo yellow.

What were the big revelations from this past Fashion Month?
I feel that the talent in London came out in full force this season: Peter Pilotto, Christopher Kane, and Erdem are just a few designers that have gone from being under the radar to being names to know in your closet.

Daphne Guinness recently rued the day she bought blue jeans. Have you ever felt that twinge of buyer's remorse?
I don';t have buyer's remorse. I don’t; I’m not going to lie. When I see something, I buy it when I get that emotional rush of happiness and joy. And I rarely regret buying anything.

Okay, on the flip side to that: What's the one thing that's eluded you all these

I think the one thing I need to have is an iconic piece of Chanel. Whether it's the Jumbo Classic or the 255, I feel that that's something everyone should have. I actually have the 255 on hold for myself?somewhere in the United States. [Laughs.]

Speaking of being on hold, what have you already pre-ordered for spring?
Céline's colorblocked clutch that walked the runway. That's my must. My must, my must, my must.

When will it ship to you?
Whenever they decide to send it. [Laughs.] I will be happy to patiently wait for it.

What else is on your holiday wishlist this year?
It's the opposite of what everyone thinks it would be. In one of our stores, we have this beautiful Aurelie Bidermann butterfly necklace. I would love to have that; I'm crazy about butterflies. To be able to wear that with my YSL jumpsuit in black for evening I think would be very, very chic.

Right now I definitely feel like I want the Céline neon shopper tote; I want it in hot pink. I love the idea of a hot pink bag right now.

Why is that? How does it make you feel?
Happy! I think that's the beauty of resort and spring. Designers looked like they had an incredible time in the atelier making these collections. And I think it evokes a lot of happiness. There's also a great shoe that Christian [Louboutin] did in hot pink that's inspired by Bollywood [and] embellished with a lot of Indian mirrors. That's a great piece as well for my wish list.

What are the three things that will be utterly ubiquitous this spring?
You definitely need an envelope clutch, a colored bag or shoe, and pink or yellow somewhere in your wardrobe.

Meanwhile, in the style blogosphere, 2011 was the year of the crowded wrist. What will be the next early adopter emblem for 2012?
The dramatic ear. It's going to be all about a statement earring. I think the nice part about the trend is that it's translated to your own style. Which is nice because you can choose the volume, but it has to be an impactful ear.—Chantal Gordon
· Neiman Marcus [Official Site]
· Moda Operandi's New Girls [Racked]