NEW YORK — Contemporary vendors at the Designers & Agents show, which ended its three-day run at the Starrett Lehigh Building here on Tuesday, marched to the beat of their own drummer.
The extreme floral prints that permeated the spring designer runways and the much-hyped green dress Keira Knightley wears in "Atonement" made way for a slew of charming summer dresses, shirts, tunics and T-shirts in light fabrics and bright colors.
The summer show, which is smaller than its spring and winter counterparts, attracted 68 exhibitors, compared with 64 in 2007, and 1,246 attendees, up from 956.
Sandra Wilson, accessories fashion director of Neiman Marcus, said she looked for new opportunities and talents. "I always find interesting resources at D&A, and it's easy to look because you are not inundated with so many of them, and there are several people from California that I don't have the opportunity to see otherwise," she said.
Based on her findings, Wilson said she anticipated a strong summer season. "We have so much color to report and I feel strongly that our customer loves color and that it's an emotional response. And with prints and this global infusion, which we have not had for a while, emerging as another trend, we have quite a bit to talk about. It's newness for the customer, and it will be a good season because of that."
Henri Bendel fashion director Ann Watson, who said holiday business was "phenomenal," came to D&A looking for something new.
"One of the exciting things we saw at the show was the continuation of color," Watson said. "I liked the yellows and blues and greens, and I also liked the summer lifestyle trends, like Letarte offering bathing suits and cover-ups, and everything you need for your summer wardrobe."
Watson cited items such as Tracy Watts' fedora with a fish-printed scarf banded detail, LNA's colored tanks and butterfly rings from Nola Singer as among the standouts.
"I was hoping to see a bit more newness," she noted. "I was looking for easy breezy summer dresses and wanted more people to respond to the floral prints trends and decorative hair, and more jewelry. It wasn't there, but we will back there in three-and-a-half weeks."Designer Charlotte Ronson said it was a good show. "People are still looking for buy-now, wear-now pieces," said Ronson, whose top sellers included a sailor blue striped dress for $83 wholesale.
Bangkok-based Senada Theory, new to D&A, offered a vintage-inspired collection of dresses and skirts with artisanal details. Bestsellers included a silk-tiered dress with ribbon halters for $186 wholesale, long cotton silk skirts with yellow piping for $178 and a silk blouse with braiding detail across the front and tiered cap sleeves for $108.
"I have noticed that buyers are really homing in on the more monochromatic pieces with details like bows," said Jennifer Yung, who heads the label's U.S. sales. "I think they are trying to play it safe because of the economic uncertainty for 2008."
At Maui, Hawaii-based Letarte, top-selling pieces included an unfitted cotton voile shirt with gold embroidery for $86 wholesale and a safari print silk shirt with crochet and brass details for $96.
"Because we have immediate product, there is inventory," president Michele Letarte Ross said. "Coming off of Christmas, a lot of stores have told me that they were going into the holiday season unsure of how much inventory they would have. Now they got through well, and many have open-to-buy."
Barbara Kramer, who coproduces D&A with Ed Mandelbaum, echoed the sentiment. "With the economy, people were nervous and some retailers said they didn't buy heavily last year. They are now out of merchandise and looking to fill their inventories."
Kramer and Mandelbaum pointed to three elements that could drive increases this year: the growth in attendance of international buyers because of the strength of many foreign currencies against the dollar, the rising popularity of green-themed collections and the overall strengthening of some collections amid a tougher climate, "because they have to," Mandelbaum said. He likened 2008 to a survival-of-the-fittest year. "It won't be a big expansion year, but the year of making improvements."
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion