Whether they’re first-timers or veterans, designers and brands among Coterie’s 1,400 exhibitors are primed to stand out from the crowd.
Each season, Danielle Licata, Coterie’s vice president and general manager, sets out to make the show — opening Monday for a three-day run at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center — a place of discovery.
“It’s about newness — mixing strong, existing brands with up-and-coming brands, whether they’re launching or just new to America,” Licata said of the show’s labels, “and enabling buyers to easily shop under one roof and differentiate their stores from competitors.”
Among the better-known brands showing at Coterie for first time are Belstaff, Hilfiger Collection, M Missoni and House of Holland.
The team behind Japanese label ICB, another first-time exhibitor at Coterie, is keen to promote its recent fall collection that bowed Feb. 9 on Instagram, marking the brand’s updated, relaxed aesthetic. ICB has increased staff on its Japan-based design and production teams, aiming to provide a more elevated product at similar prices.
“Our ICB customer in the past was more of a young, feminine and romantic city girl, but it’s time for her to grow up a little and become a chic, effortlessly cool woman,” said Maika Nakaoka, ICB’s U.S. brand manager. “She is still an urbanite, but she has graduated from nightclubs to dinner parties. Our new collection will show the maturity of our brand, while keeping its edge and wit.”
Denim label AG, which has participated in the Coterie show for more than 10 years, continues to return for the access to domestic and international retailers. Johnathan Crocker, the brand’s director of global communications, said retro trends show no sign of stopping: new fall styles include cropped denim flares and vintage, tapered high-waisted skinnies for “that Nineties supermodel fit.”
Two newer brands showing at Coterie are Cinq à Sept and Likely, both out of the New York-based Jaya Apparel Group.
Jane Siskin, chief executive officer of Jaya and the founder of Cinq à Sept — which launched for pre-fall 2016 in department stores including Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom — said she looks forward to introducing the label to the specialty-store community.
At the show, Cinq à Sept will introduce a capsule collection of six to eight styles that will be exclusive to boutiques.
“In order for the specialty stores to compete against the big boys, they need special product that won’t be promoted everywhere,” Siskin said. “We think specialty stores are a big part of the future of retail. They’re the ones that really talk to the customers every day and spend time with them. You learn more about what’s happening out there.”
The brand ships to retailers on a monthly basis. Its fall collection fuses themes of boudoir romance with a bit of Seventies-inspired rock ’n’ roll, and includes more knits and fur outerwear.
Likely, headed by the president of Jaya’s contemporary division, Crystal Slattery, is aimed at a slightly younger customer, with prices averaging $200 or less. The brand launched for this spring with colorful, form-fitting dresses, but plans to expand into separates — with an emphasis on tops — for fall. Slattery said the season’s trends range from romantic Victorian to Sixties Mod with a mix of velvet and lace in a vibrant, rich color palette.
A new plus-size line from designer Roxanne Heptner, who has designed her Los Angeles-based label Wilt since 2009, will also make its debut at the show. Wilt Plus will soft launch for fall with a selection of Heptner’s signature T-shirts in a broader range of sizes.
“It frustrates me that women of all sizes do not have access to contemporary clothes,” Heptner said. “I see it as an opportunity to lead the pack.”
She looks forward to receiving feedback on the collection’s fit, with a fuller range of plus styles slated to launch for spring 2017.
Another debut at Coterie is New York-based Becken, a women’s line founded by Angela Beck, entrepreneur and owner of the Kentucky-based home accessories company Pomegranate Inc.
When Beck connected with Laura Siegel, a former sales and development executive who had stints at Elie Tahari, Halston and Vince, the two assembled a team to help conceive their advanced contemporary label, bowing this past fall. Becken comes to market with a sturdy infrastructure set in place, thanks to additional staffing and operations support from Beck’s Pomegranate Inc.
Siegel, Becken’s president, described its design philosophy as inviting, polished and unfussy.
“To be polished and unfussy is a very delicate place, and it’s where we think we’re striking a chord with people,” she said. “There are thoughtful details you might overlook at first pass. It’s for this grounded woman with nothing to prove, who puts on a beautiful item and it just fits the way it’s supposed to — in a tailored but relaxed way.”
The label skews classic rather than trendy, with luxe fabrics sourced from Italy and Japan, including cotton poplin, jacquard, brushed wool, cotton flannel, satin-back silk crepe and Japanese denim, as well as shearling outerwear. Beck and Siegel intend to launch accessories in upcoming seasons.
Licata said the TMRW section for emerging, innovative designers, which has grown 30 percent this season, will be helmed by showroom Polly King & Co. for the second year. This season, the company plans to showcase ready-to-wear collections from Todd Snyder and Designers Remix and eyewear from Le Specs, House of Holland, Preen by Thornton Bregazzi and Karen Walker, who is also launching her line of handbags in the U.S.
At TMRW, Todd Snyder will be showing his women’s collaboration with Champion, launched last December for spring.
“He quite literally borrowed from the guys, striking the balance between sporty sex appeal and tomboyish ease,” said Kylie Conibear, Polly King & Co.’s New York-based showroom coordinator.
Silhouettes include soft sweatshirts, worn T-shirts and slouchy sweatpants, all tweaked for a woman’s body.
Ahead of the show, Licata said every exhibitor wants to talk location, location, location. “It’s most important to us,” she said. “You only have so many prime locations, and it’s important to us that everyone on the floor has a good show and that everyone wants to come back….And in order to get that strong show, you need to help [brands] with the matchmaking. We want to make sure that we’re changing the floor plan to make it more sensibly merchandised, so buyers can shop areas that are centered around what their stores are about.”