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NEW YORK — “This season has become more important than ever,” said Elyse Kroll, president of ENK International, which produced the Intermezzo show this week.
This story first appeared in the January 16, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Kroll said the show this season “more than met expectations,” as it took up more space than ever, reaching across all three Show Piers on the Hudson River here. While this is almost always the case for the Fashion Coterie, Kroll said that Intermezzo, which ended its three-day run on Tuesday, has managed to thrive this season with about 529 exhibitors and 6,900 retailers walking the floor.
“Retailers are realizing that the only way to get customers to spend money is to have new merchandise in the stores,” Kroll said. “If they don’t buy, they lose money. So the designers are making clothes for the summer season and as a result we have enough exhibitors and enough retailers to fill all three piers.”
While many of the buyers walking the floor seemed to be on a mission for special pieces to fill their stores, Anny de Chazal, owner of Geneste, a new SoHo-based boutique, decided to attend Intermezzo for the first time to browse the offerings.
“We just opened four months ago, so I just wanted to see what was here,” she said. “It’s a wonderful show, but I’m having a hard time finding men’s accessories — the women who shop in my store like to pick up a little something for the man.”
De Chazal said her store carries an array of French accessories, but she has begun to offer small apparel items such as pajamas and other novelty clothing pieces.
Jenny Polanco, owner of boutiques by the same name, said she was looking for new, unique pieces. While business has been tough, her boutique is holding its own since the majority of her customers are tourists, she noted.
“I found an accessory designer who I really like, Cousin Claudine,” she said. “But I need to find more and I came all the way from the Dominican Republic to find it.”
As far as the trends go for the summer season, lots of color could be seen throughout the show, from earth tones on cargo capris to bright T-shirts and pastel minidresses.
At New York-based Milly, designer Michelle Smith pointed out a bright green butterfly-print dress and pink printed pieces as highlights of the collection. Also booking were bright halter tops to be mixed with crisp, white, short skirts accented with ribbon detail and red-and-white gingham shirts with white jeans.
“I saw a lot of men wearing gingham shirts last season, so I decided to make them feminine and add them into the line,” Smith said.
Also showing a great deal of color was Cynthia Steffe. The New York-based designer’s collection was ready with speedy deliveries, as the designer offers deliveries two times a month in order to fill the customer’s needs.
“Our customer shops weekly,” said Elizabeth Perrin, sales director for the company. “So we have to keep shipping new things to our accounts.”
Among some of the best-booking items at Cynthia Steffe were short-sleeve crochet tops in black, white and red, as well as short skirts with Asian-inspired floral embroidery. Steffe’s summer line features structured jackets, pencil skirts and corset tops.
At Los Angeles-based Rock & Republic, the almost two-year-old company has always booked denim jeans as its primary focus. Now, according to Jennifer Baginski, sales representative for the brand, the best-booking pieces are muted color denim bottoms in cargos and basics matched with novelty-print T-shirts in brighter colors like yellow, blue and pink.
“Most of our accounts are picking up color for the first time, as well as rewriting blue jeans for the summer,” Baginski said. “But the blue jean is definitely being played down as women want the colors.”