By  on June 22, 2005

NEW YORK — Retailers continue to flock to New York trade shows in increasing numbers, so organizers are adding new venues, more international designers and multimedia events to help make the trip worthwhile.

After five years at the Park Central Hotel, Nouveau Collective, a ready-to-wear and lifestyle show, changed its address to the New Yorker Hotel for its May installment and attracted more than 2,400 visitors over four days. So what do vendors think of the new location?

"They're over the moon," said Joanne Feinstein, president of Nouveau Collective, which hosts five trade shows a year. "It's just easy because of the open floor plan." Exhibitors now show their wares in two ballrooms on the hotel's mezzanine level and in conference rooms on the third floor.

As for the buyers, "It's all about being efficient," Feinstein said. The next installment of the show will take place July 31-Aug. 3 and will accommodate roughly 560 brands, the same as in May. "That show is jam-packed with new labels," she said. A larger show, with 80 to 100 additional lines, is planned for Sept. 18-21, with extended hours on Sept. 19.

"The most valuable thing a buyer has is her time," said Feinstein. "There's so much to see and do in New York." Feinstein said the addition of a shuttle bus to take visitors from her show to other shows at the Jacob K. Javits Center and the piers on the West Side has made the experience easier for attendees. Bus tickets are mailed out to buyers prior to the start of the show.

The larger September event also will expand its area by 15,000 square feet when it takes over space in the adjacent Manufacturers Trust building, a former bank that has been vacant since 1979.

In addition to the new space, Feinstein said she is planning a runway presentation and benefit concert for the night of the 20th to raise funds for breast cancer awareness. The show's theme will be "A Day in the Life of a Woman." Though the details are still being worked out, Feinstein promises: "We'll get this thing off the ground."Spreading awareness about Nouveau Collective is a priority for Feinstein, who said her team has increased its direct marketing by 30 percent from last year. The Web site (nouveaucollectivetradeshows.com) is updated weekly, and the Nouveau Collective team keeps buyers and exhibitors informed via e-mail blasts and telemarketing. Feinstein also said her team is currently working on putting together a travel division that would coordinate special rates with select hotels in the area.

The Train, featuring rtw designers from around the globe, is organized by Federation Francaise du Pret a Porter Feminin and attracts many international visitors. It made its debut at the Terminal Stores in West Chelsea last September. More than 2,500 retailers attended that show over a three-day period. The next installment, in February, welcomed an added 30 exhibitors, bringing the total number of collections to 90. The show taking place Sept. 18-20 will accommodate roughly the same number.

"We'll be nearly full," said Jean Pierre Mocho, chairman of FFPAPF, who said the show, which spotlights international talent, will host designers from 17 countries. "We've refused more than 40 companies. We're very selective."

Mocho said he relies on word of mouth and invitations to spread awareness of his show. "We are just looking for quality," Mocho said. "We don't run after companies."

Elyse Kroll, president of ENK International, said she also was taking a closer look at companies signed on to be part of this September's Fashion Coterie, scheduled to run Sept. 20-22.

"We're rescreening these companies and taking another look at the design and craftsmanship levels," Kroll said. In addition to Fashion Coterie, ENK produces Intermezzo and Children's Club in New York and Brighte Companies in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Intermezzo is the next show set to run, Aug. 2-4.

Kroll said the addition of the Mezzanine, an invite-only section that housed roughly 40 designers, was a major hit at the last Fashion Coterie and will promise to be a big attraction for shows to come. "It really opened the door for a designer division of Coterie." Kroll said designers such as Grey Ant, Mara Hoffman, Pegah Anvarian and Jenni Kayne will be a part of the Mezzanine section for the September show.Atelier Designers, specializing in avant-garde and artisan better and designer fashions, will kick off its next installment just before the Fashion Coterie, from Sept. 18-20 at the Rihga Royal Hotel .

"The number of designers will increase by one-third," said Susan Summa, show director. "We'll add more international designers, too. We constantly ask buyers and designers who travel extensively through the markets for recommendations [for designers]," Summa said. "Over the last couple of years, we weren't quite ready, but we're ready now. We've been flooded by applicants."

Because the spring collections will be staged Sept. 9-16 in Bryant Park and a number of trade shows take place over the same three- or four-day period that month, Summa offers visitors this piece of advice: "New York is filling up fast and you need to make your hotel reservations now," she said.

Moda Manhattan (rtw), FAME (rtw and accessories) and AccessoriesTheShow, produced by Business Journals Inc., have shuffled their dates slightly. FAME now runs concurrently with AccessoriesTheShow and Moda Manhattan in January, May and August. The shows collectively boast more than 2,100 lines of women's wear and accessories at the Jacob K. Javits Center over a three-day period.

The last show took place May 2-4 and occupied more than 17,000 square feet. More than 300 lines of rtw were on hand — an increase of approximately 80 percent from May 2004.

"We're always adding new vendors," said Britton Jones, president and chief executive officer of Business Journals Inc.

The next staging of AccessoriesTheShow, Moda Manhattan and FAME will take place July 31-Aug. 2 and will include holiday, resort and immediate fall-winter merchandise.

Designers & Agents, a contemporary show staged in New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo, draws a range of emerging and contemporary designers, including a wide selection of accessories and jewelry firms. The next installment of D&A Annex, a smaller show featuring holiday and cruise, will be held Aug. 1-3 at the Starrett-Lehigh Center on West 26th Street. The larger D&A show will take place Sept. 18-20 at the same location.Ed Mandelbaum, D&A's co-founder, projected the September show will feature 275 collections, a 10 percent increase over February's show.

Mandelbaum said the secret to a good show year after year is actually quite obvious. "We're just trying to do it better," he said.

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