NEW YORK — As the rest of New York prepares to pile on the layers for cool weather, almost 1,200 vendors will be thinking warm thoughts during the spring collections at the Fashion Coterie.
Bright colors in shades of yellow, red and orange will take center stage at Coterie, which starts Tuesday and ends Sept. 30 at Piers 90, 92 and 94. There also will be intricately detailed pieces, from jeans to caftans. Heavily adorned styles incorporating embroidery and beadwork will be evident. More casual, sporty designs take a back seat to dressier, ladylike styles — looks designers are welcoming with open arms.
“For spring, we’re seeing sophisticated, classic tastes with so much detailing,” said designer Cynthia Rowley, who has been showing her wares at Coterie since 2000. “It’s a great place to get smaller and bigger people under one roof.”
Amy Smilovic, founder of Tibi, a contemporary New York firm, said, “subtle details, not overt ones, will be big this spring” and reflect the core principles of Tibi: natural fabrics mixed with Indonesian-inspired details.
She predicted a resurgence in the peasant style, “but not that cowgirl peasant look from 2001.” Batik dresses and caftan tops will dominate Tibi’s collection, as well as fitted, shrunken jackets, but not bolero jackets. “I think that might be a little too victim-y by the time spring rolls out,” Smilovic said.
Edward Kangeter, vice president of sales and marketing for the Italian-based company Fornarina, said he is bringing a cache of jackets to the show. “We’re featuring a cropped lightweight leather jacket that is off-the-shoulder with studded detail on the back,” he said.
Since 1998, Fornarina has grown into a multinational company. Total annual sales are about $154 million. “We’ve had a 25 percent growth over the last five years annually,” Kangeter said, noting the growing trend of ethnic pieces dominating spring collections. “Our designers will travel the world. We’re mixing a lot of fabrics and styles.”
Cristiana Proietti, of the cashmere-based label Cris, said shrugs will continue to ride out their popularity from this fall. “I think the bottoms will get bigger, so people will need something smaller on top,” she said.Cris will debut sheer woven skirts at Coterie — the show will be produced by ENK International and is expected to draw 12,000 retailers — as well as a line of Moroccan shirts. Of her woven line, Proietti said, “It was a good time to add a new element.” Cris debuted at Coterie in March where a line formed outside the booth before opening. “We’ve shipped between $3.5 million and $4 million during that time,’’ she said. “For a company that’s only been shipping for six months, that’s pretty great. For the three months of spring, we expect to ship $2 million to $2.5 million.”
Alice Cheng, the designer behind the label, A. Cheng, is trying to bring a bit of Hollywood glamour to the show. “I’m doing lots of navy with silver piping,” Cheng said. For those who can’t give up their wintery threads, Cheng is using some darker, earthier colors mixed with brighter hues. “I have browns with corals and hints of pale blue and yellow. It’s a more sophisticated look,” she said.
Rowley agreed that neutral colors will be used as a backdrop to highlight the brighter shades. “On the runways this season, I saw a neutral foundation with hints of bright pink, apple green, turquoise, and yellow,” she said.
Cheng thinks the strong colors will range from melon to mustard. This is her first time showing at Coterie, and she looks forward to meeting boutique owners. “Last fall I booked over $100,000 by myself,” Cheng said.
Shoshanna Lonstein Gruss, creator of the Shoshanna label, is known for designing super-feminine frocks and this season is no exception.
“We did a lot of sequins, gold and silver beads,” she said, “but they’re all done in a very ladylike way.”
For Coterie, Lonstein Gruss said she will bring “tons of chiffon,” slipdresses, and her beloved swimsuit collection, featuring chocolate brown suits with turquoise beading.
The dressed-up look will be popular, but she also predicts the “jet-set bohemian look, that’s not at all hippie” will be a hot look.Laurie Chambers, president of the Los Angeles women’s contemporary label, So Low, anticipates a shift to looser fitting, but still flattering, bottoms. Like Smilovic, she agreed that longer skirts would dominate the market. “There is quite a bit of demand for drapier fabrics,” Chambers said. “The demand for sporty products will always exist, but I do see a shift towards something more sophisticated.”
Business has been booming for So Low. “We’ve tripled the size of what we were last year,” she said. “At Coterie this year, I expect to do $500,000 in three days. In the days to follow, we’ll do much more.”
So Low plans to showcase double-faced terry-cloth fabrics, with neutral colors on one side, bright colors on the reverse. Stripes and retro floral prints will also have a presence in So Low’s collection.
In the denim world, more polished looks from brands like James Jeans and Seven For All Mankind will be offered.
“On the West Coast, distressed jeans are really popular, but they can’t be in style for that long,” said James Chung, owner of James Jeans.
At least he hopes not. James Jeans is introducing a line of more subtle distressed looks along with a set of clean-cut classic washes. “When a person puts together a wardrobe, the top is where you want to draw the eye,’’ he said. “We’re known for fit.”
James Jeans has been an unstoppable force in the denim world. Since its launch on Jan. 15, sales have hit $30 million. “Now we’re in our sophomore year,’’ Chung said. “Every brand is pushing the envelope. You need to be very set on your defining look.”
Tim Kaeding, design director for Seven For All Mankind, said this spring will be its biggest collection. “We’re focusing on new washes and new fits, like the wide-legged Mojo and the high-waisted Jagger.’’
Kaeding said denim companies are stepping it up to include more high-end varieties of denim. “Denim, especially this season, is getting softer and more luxurious,” he said. As most firms seek to replicate the vintage look, Kaeding said Seven For All Mankind will go in the opposite direction. “We’re doing really sleek and sophisticated.”Coterie plays a major part in the release of the collection, Kaeding said. “It’s where we first showcase the collection every season. It’s our starting point.”
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