As the fashion shows in Bryant Park start winding down today, preparations for this season's Fashion Coterie shift into high gear.
The biannual trade show, produced by ENK International, will be in full swing from Sept. 18 to 20. This time around, the company is switching things up, showing contemporary collections and Clear (ENK's small accessories show, showcasing brands from Europe) at Show Piers 90, 92 and 94. ENK plans to show the rest of the lines in the better, bridge and eveningwear categories at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. The Sole Commerce show, which houses shoe lines, will also be held at the Javits Center. The split venues will continue until the ongoing construction at the Piers is concluded. (For more information, go to enkshows.com.)
In the meantime, designers are getting ready to offer buyers both spring trends and resort pieces ready for immediate deliveries. For many companies, the Coterie is their most important show of the season.
"This is the big one, the show that gets everyone's attention," said Los Angeles-based A.B.S. by Allen Schwartz designer Allen Schwartz. "For me, this is the most important show, and I make it my business to be there."
Schwartz said he will have an array of styles on offer from his A.B.S. by Allen Schwartz line and the Allen B. collection. There will be a lot of fashion denim jeans, printed silk blouses and white cotton tops, as well as metallic linen high-rise pants; long, military-inspired jackets, and clean-front trousers.
"Everyone already has their T-shirts, and I think people are getting tired of them," Schwartz said. "The season is a bit dressier and I think we are going to see a reemergence of the trouser."
Schwartz also noted the importance of day-to-evening dresses, of which he'll have a large selection.
"These are dresses that you can wear to work and change your shoes to go out at night," he said. "It's all about short party dresses." The A.B.S. collection wholesales from $89 to $190.
Contemporary designer Miguelina Gambaccini said her spring Miguelina collection is "inspired by the movie 'El Cantante' with Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony. The collection includes lots of party dresses and halter jumpsuits, high-waist pants with sexy tops that are a bit romantic Seventies."Gambaccini said there will also be long chiffon ombré dresses and tunics and red chiffon raffle dresses. "I think that customers are ready for some kind of change and newness in shape, more sexy," she said.
Gambaccini will also use Coterie as an opportunity to introduce her new accessories collection and a new line of beachwear, featuring swimsuits and tunics. The Miguelina collection wholesales from $95 to $400.
Taryn Band, co-owner of Vanitas of California, said Coterie is by far the most important show for her.
"We see everyone at Coterie," said Band. "Since we are based in L.A., it's nice to come to New York to see all of our accounts."
For resort and spring, Band will have mostly dresses and some tops. There will be matte silk dresses in deep green and royal blue; floral and geometric printed red, blue and pink dresses, and rich purple printed silk dresses and tops. The two-and-a-half-year-old line wholesales between $75 and $185.
Designer Robert Rodriguez is traveling from Los Angeles to New York to attend the Coterie.
"We strongly believe Coterie is the premier contemporary show in the market, bringing in business from all over the world," he said. "Spring is always an important collection for us, each season brings more growth for the company as it appeals to a broader spectrum of customers."
The Robert Rodriguez line wholesales from $75 to $350.
Ali Fatourechi, creative director at Genetic Denim, based in New York, is feeling confident the company's sales will rise at Coterie.
"I feel that spring is going to be our biggest season to date," she said. "We've had a lot of great response from our stores regarding our fall collection. Sell-through numbers have been at an all-time high and we feel that our momentum at this time is going to drive our spring numbers."
Fatourechi said highlights in the spring collection will include wide-leg jeans with twisted seams, high-waist bell-bottoms, a high-waist barrel skirt and a hoodie made from two-ply denim and chambray.
Fatourechi said this will be a big year for the company since it is working on a global expansion plan. For spring, the brand will launch at retail in Japan. At Coterie, Fatourechi plans to meet with distributors from Spain, Italy, Greece and Germany. "We feel that this show will make Genetic Denim a global brand," she said. The Genetic Denim collection wholesales from $70 to $105.At Tocca, president Gordon Finkelstein is also feeling spring will be a good season.
"The demand for dresses in vibrant prints and colors remains extremely robust and the consumer is still spending for special pieces at reasonable price points," he said.
For spring, the Tocca collection includes embroidered cotton, silk chiffon and eyelet dresses. There are also shrunken raw silk jackets, tunics and long gauze dresses. Finkelstein said Tocca's design team was inspired by the Mediterranean Sea in the South of France. "Fabrics are soft and fluid, whimsical and sensual, enhancing romance and the femininity of the Tocca woman," he said. The Tocca collection wholesales from $65 to $150.
Jewelry designer Alex Woo, based in New York, prefers to show her line at Coterie since she gets more exposure than at the accessories trade shows.
"We really meet a lot of the top fashion buyers that we don't get to meet at the accessory shows," Woo said. "The buyers that we see here really know what they want and they love seeing new pieces. They are more fashion-forward and want to be inspired by what they buy."
Woo said her collection for spring was inspired by her recent travels through South Africa.
"Continuing my expansion into fine jewelry, this collection will mark another milestone for the company and showcase more of my background in fine arts and sculpture," she said.
The collection includes gold cuff bracelets, oversize white gold earrings and gemstone necklaces. The Alex Woo line wholesales from $50 to $6,500.
Spring will be a big season for designer Trina Turk, as well. After opening her first New York store last December in the Meatpacking District, Turk is looking to grow even more in Manhattan. In late fall, the designer will open a corporate showroom near her downtown store, so the spring sales staff will be new for the company. In addition, Turk said she will open a home store in Palm Springs, Calif., where she is based.
At Coterie, Turk said she will bring two spring deliveries, showing dresses in graphic-printed silk jacquard, sunflower-print silk and cotton. Colors in the first delivery include shades of brown, avocado, yellow and orange. For the second delivery, Turk's color palette will include gray, solar yellow, aqua, coral and "lots of white." Trina Turk's average wholesale price sits at $106.New York-based contemporary sportswear designer Lauren Moffatt plans to bring four deliveries from resort (for buyers looking for more immediate shipments) and spring. At Coterie, the line will include silk and silk jersey abstract-printed short dresses; long, wide pants; skirts, and high-waist miniskirts.
"The collection is a bit dressier," Moffatt said. "It's also more fitted, with not as much volume as in past seasons."
There also will be gray, yellow and white cotton voile dresses; silk and cotton dresses, and garment-washed sweatshirts.
"This is the only trade show that we do since we see most of our stores there and often meet with new stores," she said. "It's really a great venue for those buyers who can't get to the showroom."
The Lauren Moffatt collection wholesales from $98 to $180.
For spring, the Zooey Green Label line will be expanding beyond the graphic T-shirts it became known for. The new collection will include bamboo, French terry and fleece tops. As for the Zooey By Alice Heller line, that also will expand to include more novelty knit tops and dresses for spring.
"We will be using a lot of textured wovens mixed with Supima cotton jersey," said Heller, president, founder and designer of Zooey. "We will also be introducing an organic yoga line that will hit the stores for spring of '08, as well."
While Heller said she is looking forward to the show next week, she said the spring season will be a challenge.
"I think that spring is going to get off to a late start, as I see fall as a difficult time for retailers," she said. "The more difficult business is, the safer the retailers become with their assortments and the more they hurt their businesses."
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