DESIGNERS AND AGENTS
DESIGNERS AND OWNERS: Husband-and-wife duo Caterina Serena and Gianfilippo Gherardi.
BACKSTORY: The two partners launched AVN five years ago in Bologna, Italy. Everything is made in Italy and the idea behind the brand is streetwear, that’s cool for young people. Gherardi’s family has been in the fashion business for 40 years with the brands Ter et Bantine and Hache, designed by Gherardi’s mother, Manuela Arcari. During their summer vacation at their St. Barts villa, called Avalon, they decided to come up with a new brand. AVN is an acronym for Avalon.
KEY PIECES: The pink puffy coat, used scarves featured on tops and pants, and several patchwork looks.
WHOLESALE PRICES: Prices range from $200 for pants and skirts up to $400 for the puffer coat.
DESIGNER AND AGENTS
BRAND: Hansel from Basel
DESIGNER and OWNER: Hannah Byun
BACKSTORY: “I grew up loving ‘The Sound of Music,’ and I always called myself Hansel from Basel. I like things that are charming and quirky,” she said. She started the business in 2007 with women’s legwear and added kids and men’s wear. Her father had a sock factory in California and she grew up around sock machines. “I loved to see how they were made. Eventually he closed it.” But that was her introduction to it, and she started making socks originally as a hobby after studying art and art history at UCLA. Seven seasons ago she launched ready-to-wear, with a focus on sweaters. Her knits have a lot of yarn interest and subtle details. Her socks are very novelty-focused. She designs inside-out ones, sheers and those with different textures, and she’s inspired by certain motifs. The socks are made in Japan. “A lot of customers say our socks last forever. All are playful and fun, and a ready-to-wear outfit starts with the feet. The clothes are simple and subtle to highlight the socks.”
KEY STYLES: Psychedelic-inspired socks, color, shimmer socks, sheers, inside-out looks. “We bring a lot of texture and dimension to socks, which are generally very flat. These are very fun.”
WHOLESALE PRICES: Socks range from $5 to $25, and clothing wholesales from $60 to $150.
BRAND: Max Mara Leisure
DESIGNER: Design director Laura Lusuardi
BACKSTORY: After receiving a warm welcome from shoppers in European stores over the past few years, the collection is gaining customers in the U.S. For the past 18 months or so, the relaxed styles have been sold domestically but now the company is revving up distribution. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi helped to raise the brand’s profile by wearing Max Mara’s 2013 “Rust Glamis Coat” for a West Wing visit with President Trump in December. In addition to reissuing that particular style, the blizzard of media coverage called more attention to the brand itself. Approximately 12 stores will carry the more relaxed looks in June with Neiman Marcus planning a launch event in six of its stores, according to North America wholesale regional manager Keedan Trotman.
KEY STYLES: Cowl neck sweaters, drawstring jogger pants and cashmere knitted zip-front hoodies.
WHOLESALE PRICES: $95 to $495, with $250 being the average.
BRAND: Flor et. al
DESIGNER: Design director Karin Gardkvist
BACKSTORY: This advanced contemporary eveningwear collection is created in New York by a team of global designers, and is owned by the JS Group. The Swedish-born Gardkvist’s experience includes posts at David Meister, Marchesa Notte and Preen by Thornton Bregazzi. Product development manager Nadia Manjarrez hails from Mexico and associate designer Milad Khoreibani was born in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and has worked in the Ivory Coast, Lebanon, Paris and New York. Beading is done in India, hand crocheting is sourced from Turkey and the brand has partnered with NEST, a nonprofit that connects artists and designers around the world. The label will launch in May with Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and select specialty stores. Distribution is expected to increase from 20 to 100 later this year, according to sales director Emily Jacobs.
KEY STYLES: Jumpsuits, separates and floral-printed styles that were derived from actual paintings are bestsellers.
WHOLESALE PRICES: $150 to $450.
BRAND: Fairchild Baldwin
DESIGNER: Jill Fairchild
BACKSTORY: Available in more than 200 stores worldwide including Harvey Nichols, Fairchild Baldwin is building on its vibrant necklaces, by expanding into earrings and fabric-covered cuffs. ABC’s “Good Morning America” commentator Lara Spencer is a fan whose support has helped attract new customers. Frequently in Italy, where the collection is made, Fairchild said she is on top of all the color trends. Red coral, robin egg blue, persimmon and soft yellow are among the numerous colors, with each hand-dyed lightweight necklace requiring six to eight hours of work. Offering limited-run colors helps sales and keeps consumers curious about what’s next. “She’s a classic woman who occasionally wants a pop of color in her wardrobe. We never try to be dictated by the trends, maybe by the colors, but we stay true to our customer,” Fairchild said. With hand-painted edges, Germany-sourced magnetic closures (for two different lengths), “the necklaces are well-suited for women who like to travel, many clients never buy just one, preferring to collect the colors,” Fairchild said. Hats and belts are in the works, though Fairchild prefers taking a “step-by-step process.” She said, “We’re not running to the finish line. We’re pacing ourselves. Our ultimate goal is to become a lifestyle brand.”
KEY STYLES: Beaded necklaces in an array of colors that are often mistaken for semiprecious stones, fabric-covered cuffs and artistic modern optic earrings.
WHOLESALE PRICES: Necklaces range from $165 to $225, cuffs $40 to $56, and earrings $25 to $40.
DESIGNER: Daniella Johnston doubles as the sales and brand director
BACKSTORY: Started in 2009, the Sydney-based label is sold in about 2,500 outposts worldwide including Revolve.com, Shopbop, Asos, Urban Outfitters and PacSun. The label offers “on-trend” swimwear and contemporary styles in month-to-month ranges. As the name suggests, Lioness is meant to relay a sense of empowerment. “We just want to enforce that everyone is different, and we’ve all got a fierceness to us inside. You can wear anything and be whoever you want to be,” Johnston said. “I’m not a trend designer of any sort. I probably don’t even call myself designer. I just know what the girls want and what my buyers want. We do trend forecasting and I have a design assistant. It’s very unconventional in a sense.”
KEY STYLES: Dresses “minis always” are the strongest category and outerwear “is selling like crazy,” Johnston said, adding that influencers like Weworewhat’s Danielle Bernstein and a few key Australian ones really resonate and lead to immediate purchases.
WHOLESALE PRICES: $20 to $40.
BRAND: Michons Marigot
DESIGNER: Michons Marigot
BACKSTORY: Michons Marigot launched her eponymous women’s wear line for fall 2019. The contemporary label is based and fully made in Toronto. Her debut collection focuses on tactile and textural qualities, especially in its statement outerwear pieces of fur, leather and wool, mixed with bold print designs on simpler mix-and-matchable layers.
KEY STYLES: Outerwear is a big focus for the brand. Fall includes options like the quilted robe putter or wool shirt coat. Mix-and-match separates are also key in arty animal prints.
WHOLESALE PRICES: Tops and mix-and-match separates range from $40 to $120; coats range from $200 to $250.
BRAND: Joomi Lim
DESIGNER: Joomi Lim
BACKSTORY: Lim launched her New York-based brand in 2009 on the premise of making feminine pieces with a lot of edge. She started with spike-laden pieces, and evolved from there incorporating Swarovski faux pearls and crystals into many of her collections.
KEY STYLES: Hoops are a big seller for the brand. She reinterprets them for each season. While she started out with big, oversize necklaces, today the majority of her buyers gravitate to her earrings and ring offerings.
WHOLESALE PRICES: Rings range from $38 to $64; earrings range from $58 to $128; necklaces range from $78 to $168.
DESIGNER: Chelsea Claridge
BACKSTORY: Claridge, originally from Canada, launched Caalo for fall in response to a lack of interesting, high-end outerwear that’s also functional. All fabrics are water-resistant and down is sustainable, RES-certified and can withstand -5 degree Fahrenheit weather. Silhouettes feature removable elements to offer both playful, sophisticated style and multiple-wear potential.
KEY STYLES: Transformable coats that can be worn short or long (including a white and neon lime style that can be worn six different ways); a clean and minimalist down trench coat; and a long unisex bomber coat.
WHOLESALE PRICES: $316 to $596.
BRAND: Lorena Saravia
DESIGNER: Lorena Saravia
BACKSTORY: Saravia has been in business for 12 years and is one of the more well-known designers in Mexico City. She was a first-time exhibitor through LAD’R (Latin American Design Revolution) showroom — which focuses on Latin designers emerging in the U.S. market. Key tenets of the brand include exceptional leatherwork and attention to the female form through sharp lines.
KEY STYLES: A deep green, leather-shearling hybrid jacket and skirt; an electric blue cropped-leather jacket; a leather blazer; and signature front-slit pants cut this season in a luxurious silk blend.
WHOLESALE PRICES: $150 to $500.
BRAND: Wolf Circus
DESIGNER: Fiona Morrison
BACKSTORY: Morrison started her brand in 2011 because she felt there was a gap for affordable jewelry in the market. Now this season, she unveiled her first fine assortment called “Ok Fine” noting, “it felt like an organic next step for the brand.” She is a first-time exhibitor at the show, and will also have a booth at the Paris iteration of the event.
KEY STYLES: Signature pieces include a rose coin necklace, a woman vase pendant and, new for this season, the oversize paisley drop earrings. From the new fine offering, Morrison said the shell necklace and some of the ring stacks received a lot of attention from buyers.
WHOLESALE PRICES: The Wolf Circus ranges from $30 to $115; Ok Fine ranges from $160 to $460.