LOS ANGELES — The peripatetic showroom is on the rise.
This story first appeared in the April 9, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
For those not ready to eke out permanent space, hotel suites at the Downtown Standard, the home of Mercedes-Benz Shows LA, were a hot ticket for fledgling designers and their agents, as well as out-of-towners eager to get in on the action at Los Angeles Fashion Week.
“It’s a quick way to meet with clients and stylists,” said Kimberly Goodnight, owner of Pure Consulting, who held court in Room 1110 at the Standard from April 1-4.
Local designer Monica Osorio, who introduced a new clothing line, Szulika, was among the 13 fashion-related firms that chipped in for the room, and believed it was a worthwhile investment.
“As a new designer, it’s hard to find a [mart] showroom, since they typically want bigger lines, so this is the next best thing,” said Osorio, a former product development manager at Azteca Production International. “Some buyers like to hunt out and discover raw, new designers.”
Officials from New York-based Nexus Showroom and RJM Group showroom returned for a second year and showed in a joint suite. They preferred the hotel environment compared with what they called a “flea market” atmosphere at market shows. “This is more luxe, it adds cachet to the line,” said Nexus owner François Alexander.
The suite stayed open from April 2-7 to capitalize on fashion week as well as market week. By Friday, Saks Fifth Avenue had placed orders for Gharani Strok dramatic silk dresses, while Maxfield bought Rush cashmere sweaters.
Working the Hollywood angle is another reason to be where the fashion shows take place. “We met with a lot of stylists and we don’t have that connection in New York,” Alexander said.
Hollywood-based publicity and marketing firm SPR offered snacks, champagne and blow-dries in its swag-filled suite. SPR’s clients participated in four fashion shows at the Standard, so the room provided a home base, said partner Sara Stein. “We saw buyers, met with editors and provided a solid showcase for our clients, so we’re really happy with the results,” she said. “We’re surprised more people didn’t do it.”