Those suppliers of mannequins, forms, fixtures, decoratives and lighting — a shrinking but still important community to retailers — put their best face forward for last week's market.
"This was a condensed market. It was focused and edited, and that's a good thing," observed Bill Herbst, Saks Fifth Avenue's senior vice president of construction planning, design and visual.
"We were impressed by the continued mix of fashion and interior design trends which were evident in both mannequin and fixtures this year," said Scott Devine, Lord & Taylor's vice president of visual merchandising.
These suppliers have been pounded by retailers and their mergers, but for the Dec. 5 to 7 market, they orchestrated some consolidating of their own. Past market weeks were organized by industry trade publications and included vendors exhibiting in New York's Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and vendors with permanent showrooms in the city's Chelsea neighborhood, where the visual merchandise and display industry is concentrated. But last week's market was organized by the National Association of Display Industries, known as NADI, and limited to showrooms only. The result: an easier-to-navigate market, a higher quality assemblage of vendors and strong attendance by retailers around the world, including Apple, Nordstrom, Target, Woolworths of South Africa, Macy's and Kohl's.
"It was time to take control of our own destiny," explained Karen Schaffner, events director, NADI. "We wanted the niche to be high-end and very design-oriented."
The mood was further lifted by a party sponsored by the Planning and Visual Education Partnership held at the Mandarin Hotel to raise scholarships for students and recognize rising stars in the store design and visual arena. There was also a party Friday night at the Empire Hotel, organized by Look, Rootstein and Goldsmith.
With retailers apparently demonstrating renewed interest in enhancing their presentations, the suppliers are now hoping for a healthy round of orders early next year. According to Schaffner, they've worked hard enough to deserve it. At the 22 showrooms participating, compared with last year's 16, "It seemed almost everyone had redone their showrooms with new presentations. Everything was very light and elegant," she said.
"It was all about new texture and finishes," Herbst added. "All the vendors want to adapt and will customize pieces for us. Now with consolidations, we really don't want to look the same."
"It felt like the old days," said James Maharg, chief executive officer of Look, at 601 West 26th Street, describing the traffic to the showrooms. "I was hearing the word 'display' more and more. Stores have realized the need to get the magic of display back."
He said Look featured an adjustable, portable wall system designed to help stores segment categories and provide options of hanging and folding merchandise at varying heights and widths.
"The industry is going through a lot of consolidation, but there was a strong turnout of stores from the U.S., Europe and Canada," noted Ralph Pucci of Ralph Pucci International, 44 West 18th Street, an eclectic showroom of mannequins, home furnishings, photography and illustration.
Pucci featured its new Sport mannequins inspired by Bruce Weber and Herb Ritts photographs and geared for men's activewear and casual sportswear. The collection has a black foundry finish with the appearance of slate, and the showroom was treated as an art installation, juxtaposed with graphics.
Sal Lenzo, vice president of creative marketing and sales at Lifestyle, said there was a turnout of 150 to 200 people representing 60 or 70 stores in his showroom at 151 West 25th Street. Lifestyle showed two new women's mannequin series called Deco, for designer sportswear, and the more sculpted and sassier Chelsea collection of mannequins for sportswear. Lifestyle also has developed children's wear mannequins called Recess.
"One big trend was how the materials reflected an environmental consciousness, but they were dressed up and lacquered so the sophistication of the pieces still showed through," said Christine Nakaoka, principal of the Nakaoka Roberts interior design firm for high-end retail space.
Among her favorites of the NADI show week, Nakaoka cited the floorings and wall systems from Architectural Systems and Rootstein's ethereal mannequins.
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)
Breaking News: @hedislimane joins @celine as its new artistic, creative and image director. One of fashion’s preeminent image-makers and trendsetters, Slimane is to join the LVMH brand on Feb. 1 and unveil his first fashion proposition for men and women next September during Paris Fashion Week. It marks a major homecoming for Slimane, who cemented his reputation – and influenced men’s tailoring for more than a decade – as the designer of Dior Homme between 2000 and 2007. He went on to reinvent and ignite the house of Yves Saint Laurent, which he rechristened Saint Laurent, between 2012 and 2016 – all the while maintaining a close relationship with the Arnault family, which controls LVMH and Dior. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
“Personally I believe the Eighties have been the richest and more vivacious period for international fashion,” Giorgio Armani said when asked what his favorite decade of fashion is. It was a moment of disruption and experimentation and only thinking back to the first years of that decade is always an emotion for me, for what they have meant to me and my work.” The influence is clear in @giorgioarmani spring 2018 collection, pictured here, which was full of bright colors and unexpected prints. Read more about which decades designers loved most on WWD.com #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
For Lady Gaga’s only Italian show on her “Joanne World Tour,” the singer wore a range of @versace_official outfits. The standout piece: this custom-made bodysuit inspired by the brand’s spring 2018 collection. #wwdfashion (RG: @ladygaga)
@_camillaruth_ is expanding on the wellness-craze concept with @westbourne – a new NYC restaurant that’s both a healthy-minded café as well as a business that gives back to the community. Marcus works with the Robin Hood foundation to give back to The Door, a non-profit providing youth development services, and also hires employees through The Door. Read our full interview with Marcus on giving back through food on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)