VENDORS CHEER NEW LOCALE

Byline: Anne D’Innocenzio

NEW YORK — With a new venue, exhibitors at Fashion Coterie, for the most part, appear bullish about the trade show, and many hope the new environment will be more conducive to drumming up sales with existing accounts and picking up new stores.
The show will be held Sept. 27-Sept. 29 at the Show Piers on the Hudson at 55th Street and 12th Avenue, after a seven-year run at the Plaza Hotel. At the show’s 27th edition, about 400 contemporary and bridge resources will display their designs, a bit more than at the last show in February, according to Elyse Kroll, president of ENK International, Fashion Coterie’s producer. Kroll expects 6,000 buyers to turn up.
“I feel really strongly about the show,” said Ellen Mullman, sales manager at bridge resource Tamotsu. “Showing at the Plaza was a little difficult. It had a lot of ambience, but it was not user-friendly.”
Mullman noted her spirits are buoyed because she’s more bullish about her overall spring business.
“We came off a sour spring. The weather was cold, and traffic was off at the stores. Now, traffic is up, and I feel very good about next spring,” she said.
At Fashion Coterie, Tamotsu will show raincoats, dresses, suits and sportswear in viscose and acetate, she said. “It’s all about understated, soft dressing,” she noted.
Mullman added that she did her “homework” when it came to pitching the show to buyers, including sending out mailers and sales kits.
Mullman expects to book about $80,000 in orders at Fashion Coterie, but she emphasized that she sees the show more as a “vehicle to network with top retail executives.”
Los Angeles designer Janet Howard, who will showcase her contemporary Misc. collection, noted, “I think people were a little frustrated with the Plaza — the rooms were a little too stuffy and small. I think this new venue could give Coterie a shot in the arm.”
As for the Misc. collection, its pre-spring group will feature “futuristic safari/downtown girl” looks, including jackets with military details and pants with cargo pockets, both in stretch cotton twill, Howard said. Another group includes fake snakeskin jackets, skirts and trousers with fake-fur trims.
Misc.’s spring delivery will be more feminine, featuring stretch mesh dresses with hand-painted flowers, as well as knee-length skirts and skirts that hit at the ankle.
Protective Clothing Co., a contemporary outerwear resource, is showing three-quarter jackets and barn jackets in coated PVC, as well as microfibers, according to Richard Silverman, president. Colors are black, white and tan, as well as cobalt blue, red and yellow.
“We are looking to develop more department store accounts as well as more specialty stores,” he said. He would not disclose sales projections for the show.
Laundry by Shelli Segal, which will showcase its sportswear, eveningwear and day dresses at Fashion Coterie, expects to book $500,000 in orders, according to Mark Mendelson, executive vice president.
The spring sportswear collection includes filament sweaters, pointelle knits with lingerie straps and black-and-white athletic-inspired sweaters, according to Christopher LaPolice, the firm’s vice president of sportswear.
Skirts have replaced pants as the season’s fashion silhouette, and Mendelson reported the 15-inch skirt with a side slit has booked well.
In dresses, the company will show lots of knits and stretch boucles.
Another hot category is work-to-dinner, which includes stretch twill dresses, embroidered crepe designs and satins, and a leaf-printed sheath dress that falls to the knee, Mendelson added.
“It’s not just that black crepe dress anymore, but consumers are wanting different colors in brown, gray and navy,” Mendelson said.
Tahari Ltd. is promoting its mix of structured versus soft looks at the show, according to Elie Tahari, principal and designer.
The Tahari spring collection includes structured, knee-length jackets in wool and rayon, shown with embroidered jacquard taffeta skirts and a tight stretch silk top. Another combination is an A-line skirt with a shirt jacket in jacquard stretch, he said.
As for Theory, Tahari’s item-oriented sportswear line that made its debut in stores in February, the spring line includes shirt jackets, pants and skirts in cotton and Lycra spandex blends, as well as tropical wool blends.
Think Tank, which markets Think Tank by Lat Naylor, a bridge resource, and Kit for Women, a contemporary resource, will show a variety of fabrics, including tropical-weight wool and iridescent jacquards, according to Ellen Braude, sales director.
Think Tank’s spring line includes linen and Tactel sweaters, knee-length skirts, pants and jackets in wool gabardine and wool viscose, she said.
Kit for Women’s group includes skirts and pants in polyester shantung as well as novelty stretch fabrics in iridescent jacquard. Its blouses are done in Pucci-inspired prints and open-weave looks.
“We want to really go after the department store business with Kit for Women,” she said. As for Think Tank, Braude wants to develop a higher-end specialty store business.

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