Intermezzo collections launched in May of 1988 with a different name, Immediate Collections, and though the name has changed, the purpose has remained the same.
“It’s a very interesting show,” said Elyse Kroll, president of ENK International, producer of Intermezzo. “The first time it came out, we called it Immediate Collections because that’s what it was. Retailers were coming in for the accessories market in January, May and August and they kept saying, ‘What else you got? I want some more items.’ A whole market was created around that.”
Kroll said Intermezzo is designed to help retailers replenish and refresh their stock.
“It has propelled itself into its own market,” she said. “It makes sense to have this show. If you look back now, you think, ‘How could a store just buy things two times a year?'”
Chris Gilbert, president of the denim line Paper Denim & Cloth, said he’s been bringing his brand to Intermezzo for five years. The benefit of doing this show, he said, is the interaction brands have with their buyers.
“The show comes at a time of the year when things start to slow down a bit, so it’s a good time to speak with accounts to see what’s working for them and what’s not,” he said. “All the important buyers are there.”
Gilbert said he typically shows the same merchandise he showed at the previous Fashion Coterie, so Intermezzo serves to fill orders and to gauge bestsellers. “It’s really about filling in and seeing where the trends are going,” he said.
Even though Kroll admits the timing of her shows has gotten a bit close, she maintains that it’s the retailer’s duty to hit every show.
“That’s your obligation,” she said. “If you open up a store, you have to have new product.”
Chris Seeling, owner of the Brothers and Sisters Showrooms in New York and Los Angeles, said the importance of the show has grown significantly over the years.
“A lot of people go to Coterie for the beginning of fall, but they’re not ready to write any business at that time,” Seeling said. “When they come in for Intermezzo, they write immediate business.”
As the owner of a showroom, Seeling has noticed the influence a showroom can have over the amount of orders a collection writes during a show.
“Showrooms bring connections to the larger specialty store businesses. It also gives validation and credibility to the lines,” he said.
Stacey Bendet, owner and designer of the Alice + Olivia contemporary collection, said the show has become increasingly beneficial to her business. It serves a unique purpose, she said, in that it gives designers a chance to make changes in their collections.
“All of the smaller specialty stores come in for Intermezzo, which serves the in-between months. More and more in the contemporary market, designers are shipping collections 10 out of 12 months, so Intermezzo gives you the opportunity to show the last of your deliveries and to adapt certain parts of your collection,” Bendet said.
Seeling said Intermezzo has become crucial to his brands’ business. “We’re absolutely committed to Intermezzo. It’s definitely worthwhile,” he said.
But as the contemporary market constantly welcomes newcomers, Kroll admits that, with this growth, there is bound to be some redundancy. Still, she is confident that quality will prevail and that the retailers walking her shows are interested in finding the style leaders.
“The product is there,” Kroll said. “You just have to walk in and figure out what you’re going to do with it.”