Despite an earlier start date because of the Jewish holiday and a rejiggered show layout, exhibitors said they were pleased with the pace of business at Coterie, which opened Saturday and ran through Monday.
Tom Nastos, president of UBM Fashion, said, “Overall, we’re really happy. It’s a different pattern, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, but we’re very satisfied.” He said retailers who normally travel to Europe were able to attend on Saturday. This year, Coterie took over two floors, rather than the usual one big floor because that layout wasn’t available with the new Saturday start date. The number of exhibitors was flat to a year ago.
Danielle Licata, women’s fashion director and vice president, brand director of Coterie, said that many of the ladylike and feminine brands were trending well, as were resortwear lines of swim and caftans. Unlike previous shows, this season the vintage section was only open to showgoers and not to the public, but Licata said next season, UBM would reopen it to the public.
Among the key spring trends at the show were the crop flare pant, blazers, two-piece dressing, including pajama outfits, color and stripes.
“We come here to see what trends we’re going after,” said Erin Frazier, corporate merchandise manager of Dillard’s in St. Petersburg, Fla. Being based in Florida, she was looking for natural fibers and new uses of cotton. She said she wasn’t bringing in much more ath-leisure and that jackets and suiting were starting to pick up. “Color is important. Everyone wants to see a color,” she said, after a few seasons of muted colors.
Eleanor Broody, buyer for M.S. McClellan & Co., a men’s and women’s specialty store in Knoxville, Tenn., was shopping for fill-ins because they had a good August and more money to spend. Part of that money will be going toward pants and part to blouses. She was interested in animal prints. She said she was interested in crop flares and wide legs and fuller pants.
Lisa Harkins, owner of Free Shop in Stone Harbor, N.J., said she was looking for pretty dresses and skirts, and things to wear on the beach. She said she wasn’t happy about the Saturday start date because she needed to be in her store on Saturday. “I’m still busy on the weekends,” she said. She came to the show Monday, but normally she would spend three days at the show.
Elie Tahari was at the trade show, and said it was going well. His head of sales, Robin Goodman, said, “We were slammed Saturday and Sunday. We’re doing a lot of new suitings in crepes and floaty printed dresses. Shirtdresses and knits are really strong.”
Suzanne Silverstein, president of Parker, said the brand did 30 percent to 40 percent more business versus the first day last year. Sunday and Monday’s business was running 20 percent ahead. She said retailers responded to the company’s prints and it launched a more casual element known as Parker Weekend, which includes machine washable dresses.
Asked how the show was going, Hillary Rosen Portnoy, owner of Hotline Showroom, said, “Saturday was busier than I expected. It was a steady, consistent day, orders were heavy Saturday.” She said Hurricane Florence affected retailers from North Carolina “but other states we did see.” For the Bella Dahl collection, it was a record-breaking show, she said. They did well with shirtings and more lifestyle dressing. At the brand Sundays, sweatshirts with kisses were doing well and striped sweatpants with sparkles, creating a new modern track suit.
Chelsea Segall, brand director of Misa Los Angeles, said they were experiencing their biggest trade show of the year. “We were a little bit hesitant on Saturday, but it was a massive day for us and could have been even bigger without the [Southeast] weather issues,” Segall said.
John Eshaya, owner of Jet, said retailers have been waiting for the last minute to write orders, and were still writing October and November business. He was doing well with super casual looks, including sweatshirts, T-shirts and track suits. “The old Paris Hilton from the Nineties is cool again, big tennis shoes, track suits, fun stuff. I’ve done it already twice, and it’s the third time around.”
Marc Garson, owner of Pam & Gela, said he was having an excellent show. “Track suits are number one,” he said. Animal prints and florals were doing well, and leopard has become a neutral. The company has also done well with silky sets and novelty rain jackets. Among the stores that they worked with at the show were Neiman Marcus, Knit Wit, Olive & Bette’s and Deborah James, said Dominique Padron, brand manager.
Uri Minkoff, chief executive officer of Rebecca Minkoff, said the company was having success with handbags and that the ready-to-wear has done well. “It’s more modern than it has been,” he said. Minkoff noted that the show was busier on the third day than it normally would be when people are usually thinking about packing up.
Sarah Clark, Midwest account executive for Closed, an L.A.-based denim firm, said the brand was doing well with fun washes, tie dye and rip and repair dressing, as well as Eighties body styles.