NEW YORK — The Designers & Agents show underscored just how much the contemporary sector — once the domain of T-shirt and denim lines — has evolved in recent years.
Many of the fashion labels were so sophisticated that they can easily serve as a segue to the entry-level designer arena. Colorful prints, embellishments and embroideries — both artistic and ethnic — were among the key trends, as well as details such as lace. Jumpsuits, the ubiquitous spring trend, were also evident, and accessories played an increasingly important role in the merchandise mix.
The three-day show that ended Monday took place against the backdrop of the crisis in the financial system. However, many of the booths were bustling with buyers ready to assemble their spring lineups with pen and order forms in hand. D&A was held at three separate venues — the Starrett Lehigh Center, Cedar Lake and the Chelsea Art Museum.
“Business is harder, but it’s still good,” said Meital Grantz, owner of the two Talulah G boutiques in Las Vegas. “I have to be a lot more selective. People are still buying the top pieces, but they may not be buying as many. I was looking for new and interesting jewelry and great accessories. I liked some of the heavier brass necklaces mixed with stones and some of the scarves.”
Kerrigan, the edgy, younger-skewing collection by Daryl Kerrigan, was new to D&A. Bestsellers included a machine-washable cupro black dress for $132 wholesale, cropped lightweight charmeuse pants with a gathered elastic tie detail for $96 and a cotton bandeau jersey top for $82.
“The show has been great,” said director of sales Brianna Espitalier. “We have seen a constant flow of great stores. I think people may be a little more price-conscious than they have been in the past, but what this means is that they are looking for value.”
Rory Beca designer Rory Edelman noted the number of international buyers.
“There were a lot of people from Japan, China and Greece,” Edelman said. “One reason is the dollar. Five places from Greece came, we opened up Ron Herman in Los Angeles and [South] Korea, Shop Girl in Australia, Mercer in Paris, and Ashti and Sauce in Dubai.”
Rory Beca bestsellers included a jumpsuit with a drawstring detail for $134 and a tie-dye tunic for $125.
Madrid-based Raasta offered looks such as a floral-sequined dress for $230, and a sequined and beaded top for $153.
“Stores are looking for something special, even if they are more expensive,” founder and designer Kavita Parmer said.
As part of its partnership with the Council of Fashion Designers of America and its Business Service Network, D&A picked Philip Crangi and Mary Ping to present lines at the show. Crangi brought along the Giles & Brother by Philip Crangi line, while Ping presented her four-year-old Slow and Steady Wins the Race label.
“It’s not supposed to be a diffusion line to my signature, but it’s a totally different project,” Ping said. “Each season is based on a fundamental of clothing design.”
The latest collection centered around all things luxury, including a $1,000 pearl T-shirt.
“Accessories have never been stronger,” said Barbara Kramer, who produces the show with Ed Mandelbaum. “Dresses are a littler dressier and not quite so casual. It’s a lot more sophisticated and feminine. In our market, buyers go for things that are more special and more unique. It’s not so much a price point conversation.”
Mandelbaum said this was the largest ever D&A in New York. Attendance was up 10 percent from last September.
“You can’t have a store without fresh merchandise,” he said. “There is business out there to do. You just have to work harder.”
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)
Breaking News: @hedislimane joins @celine as its new artistic, creative and image director. One of fashion’s preeminent image-makers and trendsetters, Slimane is to join the LVMH brand on Feb. 1 and unveil his first fashion proposition for men and women next September during Paris Fashion Week. It marks a major homecoming for Slimane, who cemented his reputation – and influenced men’s tailoring for more than a decade – as the designer of Dior Homme between 2000 and 2007. He went on to reinvent and ignite the house of Yves Saint Laurent, which he rechristened Saint Laurent, between 2012 and 2016 – all the while maintaining a close relationship with the Arnault family, which controls LVMH and Dior. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
“Personally I believe the Eighties have been the richest and more vivacious period for international fashion,” Giorgio Armani said when asked what his favorite decade of fashion is. It was a moment of disruption and experimentation and only thinking back to the first years of that decade is always an emotion for me, for what they have meant to me and my work.” The influence is clear in @giorgioarmani spring 2018 collection, pictured here, which was full of bright colors and unexpected prints. Read more about which decades designers loved most on WWD.com #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
For Lady Gaga’s only Italian show on her “Joanne World Tour,” the singer wore a range of @versace_official outfits. The standout piece: this custom-made bodysuit inspired by the brand’s spring 2018 collection. #wwdfashion (RG: @ladygaga)
@_camillaruth_ is expanding on the wellness-craze concept with @westbourne – a new NYC restaurant that’s both a healthy-minded café as well as a business that gives back to the community. Marcus works with the Robin Hood foundation to give back to The Door, a non-profit providing youth development services, and also hires employees through The Door. Read our full interview with Marcus on giving back through food on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)