Vendors exhibiting at Coterie Feb. 21 to 23 expect business to reflect the uptick in the economy, concurring that retailers are looking for high quality and innovation as well as good pricing to replenish inventories.
“People are hungry for fashion and newness,” said Yoana Baraschi, owner and designer of her namesake line. “I can see that from dealing with my shipping department. Everybody wants merchandise now — no one is delaying, which means there is a need. I think buyers will look for value. Not value as a price point, but value in a product.”
An eight-year veteran of Coterie, which takes place at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, she is adding accessories to her line of knit and woven separates and dresses with a feminine fit. Her first accessories will be two-tone cashmere voile scarves wholesaling for $45. Wholesale prices run from about $39 for a top to $219 for a coat.
Military themes, dark colors and strong shoulders will be key trends at the show, she said. The collection includes a mix of knits and wovens in the same garment, and draping and modern asymmetrical embellishments.
Halston Heritage, the secondary line of Halston, which recently signed Sarah Jessica Parker as president and chief creative officer, will be showing for the first time, as will Elizabeth and James’ new denim line and the Pringle 1815 collection.
“There seems to be more optimism in the market and we hope to capitalize on that,” said Halston chief executive officer Bonnie Takhar. “We think buyers will be looking for good design at value [pricing].”
Key categories will be transitional clothing and day-to-night pieces that can be worn many ways, she added.
This is the first time Pringle’s secondary line, Pringle 1815, will be showing at Coterie. The fall collection will emphasize knits and heritage, two things the iconic Scottish cashmere maker is known for. Wholesale prices range from about $80 for a sweater to about $275 for outerwear.
“The theme is Scotland,” said Pringle’s head of global communications, Benoit Duverger. Even outerwear will have knitted inlays. “Buyers are looking for value. I don’t think basics are really successful, it’s the special items at a good price from a brand the customer can identify” that will do well, he said.
“In Europe, they are looking for new, amazing things that are not out of this world pricewise,” said Luca Strehle, who heads up Strenesse Blue, which is returning to Coterie for a third season. “I hope buyers will be looking for novelties.”
The inspiration for the collection this season is New York street style in the Eighties, said Strenesse Blue creative director Viktoria Strehle. (The Strehles are siblings, children of the founders Gerd and Gabriele Strehle.) The collection has a lot of fur, flat shoes as well as high heels, and shiny materials such as pailettes.
Opening retail prices are about $67. Dresses typically retail for $409, and a detailed leather coat can go for around $2,050. The line is made in various European countries as well as Asia.
Denim has continued to grow despite the recession, and lower-priced premium denim is a newly growing category. Several well-priced denim lines will make an appearance at the show.
Michael Glasser and Joie Rucker, former designers of Seven For All Mankind and Citizens of Humanity, will show Easy Money, a line of denim retailing for under $100.
Fast turn is a key at Vintage Revolution, is a new denim line that tops out at $128 retail. The line is produced in one of Mexico’s largest factories to facilitate quick deliveries and large orders, according to Vintage Revolution president Michael Press. The wholesale price is $55, so retailers can maintain a good margin on the product, he said. There is a broad basics program, which can be replenished in two to three days.
The look this season is feminine but workwear-inspired, he said. “It’s oil tanker meets a tremendous amount of dried flowers,” he laughed. There will be slim boyfriend jeans as well as plenty of jeggings. The line uses a new stretch fabric made especially for the brand by Cone Mills.
“The jeans retail for $128 and we give dollars back from our in-house marketing program, so retailers have a 30 percent lower cost and 20 percent greater profitability, and the turn time, lead and inventory on the shelf allows them to carry a lower inventory of products,” he said.
Hudson Jeans has seen strong business for the last eight seasons, said founder Peter Kim. “We’re coming into Coterie extremely positive. People are still obviously very cautious because of the times, but traffic and business has picked up.”
New for the company is the jegging, and the collection is split into three groups: basics, colored basics and fashion.
Core prices are $65 to $85 wholesale, though fashion items can retail up to $225.
Capsule, Hudson’s fashion group, emphasizes three themes: A free-spirited flapper look featuring high waists and wide legs, a zipper-happy punk group and a military collection using welts and colored canvas.
At Emmelle, a suits and separates wholesaler and retailer, designer and founder Mi Jong Lee said, “In retail, we’ve recovered 100 percent,” and that springwholesale business is up 30 percent.
“Buyers are looking for unusual fabric and quality they can promote as something of value. Customers will buy less and pay more, but for quality garments. I see this in my retail all the time.”
An unusual new business visiting Coterie for the first time is Glamourpuss NYC, which offers scarves, sweaters, ponchos and other warm items made of knitted rabbit fur. Its $195 wholesale scarf with built-in pockets for hands and wallet was a hit at Calypso and Kirna Zabête, said head of marketing Courtney Moss. Moss launched the line with longtime friend and designer Gigi Mortimer.
Moss said the motivation for the line was simple: “Both of our sons play hockey. We were at a hockey game talking about how when you get up in the morning and it’s freezing and you look horrible, wouldn’t it be great to put on something warm and fun that makes you feel pretty?”
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