By  on August 11, 2009

Following recent talk at apparel trade shows and among economists that the worst of the economic downturn might be over, spirits were high and the prints were lively at the Direction by Indigo and Printsource textile and surface design trade shows last week in Manhattan.

“Customers were in a buying mood,” said Paul Harding, The Colorfield’s international creative director.

His design studio presented at the Direction show held last Tuesday through Thursday, which attracted more than 2,100 attendees to view more than 100 fall 2010 collections at the Penn Plaza Pavilion.

“Many exhibitors were pleased with sales as a result of the show, despite the economy,” said Lisa Mainardi, U.S. representative for Direction by Indigo, a unit of Première Vision SA.

There was also some good news at Printsource. The show has grown over 20 percent in square footage since moving to 7 West 34th Street in April.

“That kind of growth is surprising in this economy,” said Massimo Iacoboni, Printsource’s producer. “Our 70 booths included quite a few double and oversize stands this season.” Attendance numbers are still being calculated, but Iacoboni estimated nearly 2,500 buyers visited the show, which featured 36 new exhibitors.

Trendwise, surface designers ramped up the creativity a notch at both shows. Printsource went supergraphic, with a lot of vendors showing art featuring white backgrounds and bright pastels or primary colors. The most engaging motifs, like the playful creations at Antoinette et Freddy, were largely celebratory and included starbursts, cartoon characters, butterflies and rainbows that teetered on the edge of kitsch.

At Direction, vendors leaned toward traditional motifs but gave them a tweak in the form of an eclectic paisley mix from Colette and Blue or a multifloral design from Karolina York. Another key idea was distortion. Digital images looked as though they were refracted through a prism or reflected on moving water like Design Union’s green digital ripple.

Printsource organizers plan to continue to develop their new venue on 34th Street.

“Now we have the potential to provide display systems reminiscent of an art gallery,” Iacoboni said of the space. “We intend to push closer toward that.”

At Direction, a joint exhibition with the Première Vision Preview on Jan. 12 and 13, is the latest buzz.

“It’ll be great having both shows under one roof,” Mainardi said. “The U.S. market will be the first to view and buy the spring 2011 season.”

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