NEW YORK — Nouveau Collective may not be the biggest show of the season, but organizers are aiming to make it the most hassle-free.
“We have to overservice people and be sensitive to their frustrations,” said Joanne Feinstein, president of Nouveau Collective. “We understand that people aren’t going to come to New York in August if they have to pay $400 to $500 for a hotel room.”
For this edition of the show, Feinstein incorporated a travel division within her organization. Having realized the high demand for hotels and the weak U.S. dollar, Feinstein pulled together a list of hotels in the area and arranged for shuttle buses to transport visitors to and from the show. For the September edition, discounted rates will be available at selected hotels.
The Nouveau Collective show, which featured 510 ready-to-wear collections, was held on two floors at The New Yorker Hotel here on Eighth Avenue. The show, which ran Sunday through Wednesday, had extended hours on Tuesday, closing at 9 p.m., three hours later than the other two nights.
Feinstein said she was happy with the turnout: There were 1,250 buyers in attendance, a 25 percent increase from last August’s installment. “I think the exhibitors are showing a lot of newness in their designs and are doing more focused edits; they’re narrowing it down a bit now,” Feinstein said.
“Joanne is pro-store and pro-vendor,” said Steven Palay, vice president of Forwear/A.Z.I. Jeans, based here. “There’s nothing she wouldn’t do to improve our situation.” Palay has been part of the Nouveau Collective show for three years and said the late shopping night definitely works in his favor. “We were supposed to close at 9 p.m., but we were here until 10:30 p.m.”
Palay said he opened between 20 and 30 accounts at this show, and though August is “an uncertain show,” as he put it, “it’s always an interesting one.” The four-year-old A.Z.I. denim collection wholesales between $79 and $99 and targets a misses’ to misses’ contemporary consumer. “We sell to 500 specialty stores across the country, among them Nordstrom and Caché,” he said.
Ron Farrar, New York manager of Mycra Pac, the Moraga, Calif.-based outerwear line, said that, while this is “kind of an in-between market,” his business at the show was up roughly 25 percent over last August’s installment. Farrar said he probably signed between 90 and 100 accounts this season, compared with the busier May installment of Nouveau Collective where he signed roughly 140 accounts.
There were about 127 samples on display in the Mycra Pac suite on the second floor. Farrar said most retailers were looking to fill in their preexisting inventory, but were also checking out spring styles. Mycra Pac coats come factory-packed in stylish handbags and totes. “It’s really a travel line,” Farrar said. “Every coat has a specific accompanying bag, which makes it great for travel. Plus, every coat is reversible.”
Michael Kasher, vice president of La Femme, an evening gown distributor representing the Diane Freis dress collection, said, “We always have a good show at Nouveau Collective. A lot of the smaller specialty boutiques come through and they all seem to prefer this show to the others.”