NEW YORK — The Atelier Designers trade show, which ran from May 3 to 5, attracted a smaller group of exhibitors and retailers than usual for the May market, but according to show director Susan Summa, that was to be expected.
“We’ve had a steady flow of stores, but it has been slower than in the past,” she admitted. “Of course in this economy, we saw this coming.”
Summa said many of the retailers she spoke with at the show were interested in picking up items, rather than writing full ensembles from exhibitors. One retailer, Lori Ruda of Lena’s of Hagerstown, in Maryland, said that since a popular store across the street from her, Figurehead II, went out of business a few months ago, she is hoping to upgrade her mix of merchandise to attract customers who used to shop at that store.
“We used to be the store for grandmothers, but now I’m hoping to get the mother-daughters to come in,” said Ruda, noting she picked up some more contemporary looking items at the exhibition from Cynthia Ashby, sweaters from Giselle Shepatin Inc. and a few bags at Moulin Rouge. “I’m looking for items for fall since I have too much inventory in the store right now. But with the new dynamic we are adding, we have been editing out a lot of what we used to have and looking at bringing in a wider range of items.”
Chris Warren, an assistant buyer at the New York-based Marjorie Warren The Studio store on Madison Avenue, said she found some casual items at Amy Brill and loves the sweaters at Carole Tomkins Collections. “Business is actually getting better. We are seeing it happen,” she said. “I’m here mostly looking for items to fill in what we’ve already ordered. Women have to buy clothes eventually.”
On the exhibitor end, 43 designers were spread over three floors at the Doubletree Hotel in Times Square. In the Moulin Rouge suite, designer Michel Marzano of Kitty Hawk, N.C., showed his newest collections of handmade handbags and belts. He said the navy embossed leather bag was selling well, as was the ikat print canvas bag with Mongolian lamb fur trim. He was also seeing a lot of interest in his new belt collection. The Moulin Rouge collection wholesales between $150 and $350.
At Barbara de Jounge and Bodil, two contemporary knitwear and sportswear brands, Neeta Malik, a sales representative from the Los Angeles-based firms, said business was starting to pick up.
“Buyers have been cautious, but we really see a turnaround happening,” Malik said. “Our lines are also made in the U.S.A., which has been a great selling feature for us.”
Malik said retailers are also gravitating toward colorful items for a “pick-me-up in bad times.” The Barbara de Jounge collection wholesales between $39 and $195.
Nina Ganci, designer of the St. Louis-based Skif International, said she was doing well with her hand-painted knit sweaters in colors like tan and black and pink and red. Her line of casual contemporary sweaters wholesales between $70 and $185.
“This is always a great show for us and it’s been great this time too,” she said. “I’m finding that a lot of people are liking some of my original designs, so I’m bringing back a lot of what I used to do in the Nineties.”
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)