NEW YORK -- For three years, Colin Baer and Antonio Campbell have spent much of their time making decisions about how best to advance their bridge sportswear and dress collection business.
While they may have made some mistakes along the way, the two partners feel that with the opening of a showroom at 552 Seventh Ave., a full collection for fall and the exposure of their first runway show, their feet are on solid ground.
Last October, Baer and Campbell decided they were more interested in wholesaling Baer's signature collection than in retailing -- so they closed their two-year-old store on East Seventh Street in Manhattan's East Village and moved uptown.
"Colin's strength is a more suited look, and that didn't really work in the East Village," said Campbell, who handles sales. "When we were considering closing the store to go wholesale, we thought about setting up in SoHo, but decided Seventh Avenue would be better. It would be too difficult to get the buyers downtown."
Baer designed a small selection of coordinated groupings for spring and exhibited at the International Fashion & Boutique Show, having been told by various contacts that it would be good exposure. The partners realized after arriving at the show that it wasn't the right environment for the collection, which focuses on sophisticated separates and dresses at a bridge prices.
Should they decide to try another show, said Campbell, they now feel the Fashion Coterie would be a better fit.
The wholesale prices of the collection, which mixes men's wear influences with feminine, shaped looks, are about $75 for wool skirts, $110 to $125 for doubleknit wool jersey jackets and $350 for silk chiffon and velvet evening pieces. They expect the fall season's sales to reach $250,000. In another move to raise the line's profile, the partners decided to have a show during the recent 7th on Sixth fall collections week. "It proves to people that you're serious," said Baer.
To finance it, Campbell said he found a backer for only the show, in exchange for a percentage of the fall season's sales. It was staged in a storefront at 111 West 42nd St., a short walk from the 7th on Sixth tents in Bryant Park."We've been able to tell from reading different articles that a designer is much more believable to retailers and press once he's had a show," said Campbell. "And we just got the backer in for the show because we've also read about the problems designers have had when they give up any ownership of their business."
Now, with retailers just getting into the smaller showrooms for fall ordering, the duo is waiting to see if they made the right decision. "We have gotten calls from major stores that I wouldn't have necessarily been able to get through to without the show," said Campbell.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast