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MILAN — The newly freestanding trade fair, White, has become a focal point for buyers seeking cutting-edge fashions.
This story first appeared in the October 10, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Held Sept. 27 to 30 at the Superstudio Più in the city’s Navigli (canal) area during fashion week and concurrent with the MoMi show, from which it broke away, White attracted 4,952 visitors from 55 countries who came to view 108 collections from emerging international designers.
Exhibitors included Italy’s Henry Beguelin, Great Britain’s Juicy Couture and France’s Queen Capucine, as well as a host of lesser-known names.
Buyers spotted walking the aisles — laid out like a racetrack with starting and finishing posts — included Rosi Biffi of Biffi, here, and representatives from Barneys New York, Henri Bendel, Neiman Marcus in the U.S. and Joyce in Hong Kong.
“White was previously a subsection of MoMi, but there was a danger that MoMi would suffocate the trendsetting zone,” said Luigi Ciocca, president of Efima, one of the organizations behind both shows. “We wanted a different atmosphere with later opening hours and a late-opening bar attracting a buzzier clientele.”
“White has a great pool of small, interesting fashion houses and it bodes well for the future,” said Roberta Valentini, owner of Brescia’s trendsetting Penelope boutique. “I noted many ethnic, Central American looks, artisan-made pieces and lots of leather.”
Other trends at White included long skirts, dresses and baggy pants with elasticized hems, garments with cutout details, cargo pants and military coats. While white, black and neutrals dominated, splashes of turquoise, sky, purple, orange and spring green punctuated the racks.
Milan-based designer Yuko Akaba of Akaba said that a representative from Barneys had shown interest in feminine summer dresses with brightly colored embroidery and prints.
“Buyers liked a cream cotton halterneck dress with embroidered red daisies and a cotton jersey dress with a colorful Easter-egg print,” said Akaba, who previously designed for Aspesi.
“We are pleased with business at the fair, although we didn’t see our U.S. clients here,” said owner-designer Fulvia Marengo of Bologna-based company Flu’s Ear. We already sell accessories to Barneys, Saks and Takashimaya, but we’re looking for an agent to help us expand to the East and West Coasts. About 10 percent of sales are to the U.S.”
Popular pieces included a three-quarter-length military coat in lightweight khaki cotton drill, and anything with hand-finishing.
At Block 60 of Riccione, produced by Iceberg’s Gilmar, T-shirts with cutout details had sold particularly well. A long tube dress in apple green with an elasticized lower hem, and a knee-length Prince of Wales check skirt with a ragged side zip also created interest.
Block 60 already sells to Untitled in Chicago and Vice in Los Angeles and New York.
Collection Privée by Massimo Bizzi featured a three-quarter-length turquoise suede coat with zip pockets and combat details. Despite a wholesale price of about $620, the coat met the universal demand for special pieces and was eliciting interest.