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Capsule Hits Record Size

New York show swelled to 75 vendors.

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The Capsule New York show swelled to a record 75 vendors, seemingly shoehorned into every last nook of the Angel Orensanz Foundation, a former Lower East Side synagogue. Among them were numerous fledgling labels and first-timers to New York market week. And these progressive fashion labels were focused not on rapid expansion but on attracting a dedicated following.

Perhaps only die-hard denim aficionados see the allure of 24-oz. denim, for example. But such connoisseurs were abuzz about Naked & Famous, the Montreal denim label, which claimed the heaviest pair of jeans in history.

The Fred Perry by Raf Simons line keeps gaining followers and the bright color, avant-garde cutting and sheer overlays brought his fashion-forward vision to classic polo shirts.

General trends at Capsule were very much in line with those on the European runways. Relaxed tailoring, light texture, washed fabrics, tight organic patterns and transparency were dominant themes. Workwear and outdoorsy Americana remain influential, as seen in the collections of Garbstore, Yuketen and Post Overalls, to name a few. A bestseller for Post Overalls, a Japanese label marketing to the U.S. for the first time, was a denim utility smock.

Gilded Age designer Stefan Miljanic took inspiration from the simple pleasures of a picnic. The denim-driven collection was outdoorsy, unprecious and faded to a vintage patina.

Americana was the watchword for heritage footwear brands getting into the progressive market with spin-offs such as Florsheim by Duckie Brown, Mark McNairy for Bass Weejuns, and Cole, Rood & Haan, a new heritage-inspired line from Cole Haan.

While the recession has resulted in some high-profile designer boutiques having to close, others have found a way to leverage their cachet: wholesaling their private label collections. Oak, Bblessing, April 77, Wood Wood and B Store were among the boutiques that came to Capsule as vendors as well as buyers.

Assembly New York, the Lower East Side boutique, launched a namesake collection as well. The high-end pieces, such as Italian linen blazers and drawstring pants, may be basic in terms of their neutral palette and lack of decoration, but their silhouettes are fashion-forward and designed with trendy styling habits in mind. For example, the blazers have no buttons at the wrist, since the sleeves will likely be rolled up. Shorts have attached pieces of leggings, for a contemporary layered look.

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