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Coterie Connects at Piers

NEW YORK — Even though it came after the Fashion Week buzz, there was plenty of action at the Fashion Coterie, which ends its three-day run today.<br><br>The Show Piers on the Hudson River was packed Tuesday with anxious exhibitors and buyers on...

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NEW YORK — Even though it came after the Fashion Week buzz, there was plenty of action at the Fashion Coterie, which ends its three-day run today.

The Show Piers on the Hudson River was packed Tuesday with anxious exhibitors and buyers on the lookout for new items to fill their stores at ENK International’s largest trade show.

“I’m looking for what’s new and fresh that my stores would really like,” said Virginia Sandquist, a buyer at DLS Outfitters, a New York-based buying office.

Sandquist took time out to visit Coterie, even though it was being held in the middle of the week for the first time.

“I am sure the manufacturers really like it to be midweek, but it’s hard for the buyers to have to be away from their stores,” she said. “It’s also more expensive for them this way, without the Saturday stay-over. Even though it hasn’t seemed to slow down the attendance at the show, I hope that next time the timing will be better for the buyers.”

On the other hand, Mike Kramer, buyer for Woodstock, N.Y.-based Woodstock Design, said it’s better to hold the show midweek.

“This is good because we are busy in the store over the weekend and it’s better for us to be there then,” he said, noting that he was searching for contemporary designs made in high-quality fabrics, such as a fake shearling jacket, for immediate selling. “Our customer is the New Yorker who comes upstate for the weekend.”

Some designers, like Cynthia Steffe, Rebecca Taylor, Nanette Lepore and Lilly Pulitzer, just held their runway shows here in New York, but managed to pull things together for Coterie. The key trends for spring were the mixing of hard and soft colors, such as Cambio’s white pants with laser cutouts and a brown leather belt, and pink jackets mixed with beige cargo and military pants from New York-based Walter, a new line from the makers of the View Collection. Denim also is still strong, with Cassin booking vintage denim, fur-lined jackets.

Spring isn’t typically a strong fur season, but Sherry Cassin, owner of Cassin, said: “We are getting loads of reorders, and booking some spring pieces.”

Besides the fur-lined denim jackets, Cassin said she was selling many fur accessories like hats, ponchos and scarves, as well as novelty pieces like a pink suede-trimmed denim jacket for the spring season. Cassin said she doesn’t mind the show being held midweek.

“It’s fine this way,” she said. “The show is packed today, when usually it isn’t on the first Sunday.”

Gail Marback, sales manager at Cambio, a misses’ jeans and pants company, was concerned about the Coterie dates at first, but after the busy day on Tuesday, the worry faded.

“I was concerned that buyers wouldn’t want to leave their stores during the week, but I have been busy nonstop all day,” she said.

As for trend at Cambio, soft colors are in for spring, as seen in beige patchwork paisley-print pants and cream ankle jeans with deep belt loops and small fringe on the ends.

For London-based Sophia Swire, a cashmere-and-silk-blended tank accented with a crystal tiger, frog or snake sold well, as did handpainted silk sarongs and silk and organza tops in bright color combinations, like red and pink and green with blue.

“This is always my best show,” Swire said. “And since I come all the way from London to attend, it doesn’t really matter to me if the show is over a weekend or not.”

While black leather will always be a favorite among most buyers, according to Marissa Klein, account executive at Siena Studio, it’s the color in the booth that draws buyers in.

“I think they are happy to see some color,” she said. “While black is always strong, color looks good on the merchandise floor.”

Top-booking items at the show were a printed suede jacket in pale pink, washable suede halter tops and skirts, a brown suede bomber jacket and a new rainwear line that launched at the show.

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