With retailers hunkered down and girding themselves for an uncertain economy, Manhattan’s Lexington Avenue Armory, home of the 69th National Guard regiment, served as an apropos new venue for the Project show. The space was markedly smaller in scope than the show’s previous incarnation at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, and hosted about 150 brands, according to show organizers.
“We were a lot more focused this year, and I think the smaller space was appropriate for this new economic environment we are in,” said Sam Ben-Avraham, founder and president of Project, which is a division of Advanstar Fashion Group.
Ben-Avraham viewed the general mood of vendors and retailers as positive but tempered by the financial troubles of CIT, which finances a large swath of the independent brands and boutiques serviced by the exhibition.
“Business isn’t back to normal, but I think people have gotten past the bad energy of last season and are focused on what needs to get done,” noted Ben-Avraham. “I think things were actually looking pretty positive a few weeks ago, but the recent news about CIT has people worried. If CIT goes down, a lot of people are going to have trouble with financing.”
In that vein, a no-frills mood permeated the drill hall that housed the show, with decor-free booths and the elimination of The Area, a white-carpeted special section previously dedicated to directional brands. “They told us not to bring any props, they want all the booths to be uniform and focused on product,” said Scott Morrison, chief executive officer of Evisu.
Morrison was displaying his revamped Evisu lineup of vintage denim with downplayed branding markers. Evisu is relaunching at Barneys New York this holiday, and Morrison expects eventually to be in about 125 specialty store doors in the U.S. as he works to energize the brand here.
A cleaner denim aesthetic was on view at J Brand, where unadorned, minimally treated styles provided a counterpoint to the vintage washes that prevailed at competing brands. “We are about clean, classic and timeless,” said Illanit Semberov, men’s sales director at the Los Angeles-based label. As with many companies, lower prices were an emphasis at J Brand, where jeans were priced to retail from $169 to $198.
At K-Swiss, prices this season were lowered about 10 percent in the Sport Style collection, to be more competitive with Nike and Adidas, said a company representative. The spring collection was focused on a country club direction, and moved away from the designer aesthetic of seasons past.
A burst of color was on view at the Threads for Thought booth, where painter Tom Christopher was showcasing his vivid artwork of New York street scenes. Christopher was recruited by the New York-based company to splash his artwork onto a special line of T-shirts that will benefit the National Resources Defense Council and the International Rescue Committee. The $24 T-shirts are debuting in Urban Outfitters this season.
Appealing denim alternatives were available from J.W. Brine, an Italian pants maker founded by Giacomo Rizzo, a former designer at Mason’s. “These are very American-friendly, five-pocket pants that a retailer can use to refresh their denim departments,” said Katie Liu, co-owner of Black Dog 8 showroom, which reps the line in the U.S.
At Operations, prices were actually up slightly, according to co-founder Michael Leen, as the brand aimed to boost quality. However, in a nod to the economy and retail realities, the New York-based brand also launched a lower-priced line called Incorporated by Operations, with wovens retailing for $98 and jackets for $298, about 50 percent less than the original Operations brand. The lower prices were achieved by moving production from the U.S. to China for the secondary line, which has been picked up by Bloomingdale’s.
Retailer Blake Nieman-Davis, owner of Portland, Ore.’s Blake, was upbeat on Casio’s G-Shock watches. “We are looking for brands where the customer feels like they are getting a lot of value for the money,” he said.
Key Trends From New York Market Week
• Lived-in woven shirts. • Casual, softly tailored sport coats. • Fine art-inspired printed T-shirts. • Subtle vintage washes for denim. • Gauzy and stretched-out knits. • Multicolored khakis. • Tailored shorts with shorter inseams.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty