Byline: JANET OZZARD / MICHAEL MCNAMARA
What: Inaugural edition of WWD/MAGIC International, The Women’s Apparel Show.
When: Feb. 21-24
Where: Hilton Hotel Convention Complex in Las Vegas.
Who: International retailers and exhibitors converging on approximately 200,000 square feet of exhibit space, with nearly 900 booths featuring women’s resources covering all price points, from designer to moderate.
THE ITALIANS ARE COMING
The Italian Trade Commission has brought together a group of nine high-end women’s and men’s knitwear firms to participate in the WWD/MAGIC International Show.
Dr. Gaspare Asaro, Italian Trade Commissioner for North America, said all of the companies are from the Marche region of Italy, which is known for its fine-grade knitting factories.
Asaro said this is the second time a group of Italian firms have shown at a trade show. The first time was at Premier Collections in New York last year.
Asaro said Italian firms are trying to expand their business in the U.S., and a show of this magnitude offers an opportunity to reach a large number of retailers.
The firms participating under the Regione Marche banner are:
Maglificio Valconf-Umberto Vallati.
Creazioni Antonella Di Tesei Maria & Co.
Henri Falcon Di Torregiani & Co.
CTA Consorzio Tessile Abbigliamento.
The Ecam Group.
A DESIGNING WOMAN
NEW YORK — Delta Burke has been in front of the camera many times in her career, but now she’s spending some time behind a sketch pad.
Burke, best known for creating the role of Suzanne Sugarbaker in the TV sitcom “Designing Women,” is developing a company to create large-size sportswear in a variety of categories, from denim to career suits to swimwear. Burke will make an appearance during WWD/MAGIC at her company’s booth, Delta Burke Design. The company will present some preliminary products, a concept video and meet with potential licensees.
“I have always sketched and had a hand in my professional wardrobe as well as my personal one,” said Burke. “I’ve designed gowns and dresses for my Emmy, for my wedding and personal appearance needs for years. This past year has been a crash course in fabrics, prints, trims, etc.”
Burke, who is finalizing a denim line in production with W.E. Stevens, a casual sportswear manufacturer in Nashville, Tenn., said she plays a major role in the day-to-day process, particularly with fit.
“She’s good at picking out details, and she knows what she wants,” said Gordon Ferragina, executive vice president and one of the principals at W.E. Stevens. “She wants the right drape, the right fit. She wanted to be involved with the product at all levels.”
Ferragina said that while W.E. Stevens will be the headquarters and holds the master license for the Delta Burke Design company, the executives are looking into other categories such as career sportswear, eveningwear and accessories.
“I’m also very interested in one of my favorite areas — bridal,” added Burke.
Shopping is not in short supply in Las Vegas. While in town, be sure to check out the multitude of malls that are supported by this rapidly growing city. Here, some highlights:
The Forum Shops at Ceasars. This amusement park-like center is one of the most successful retail complexes in the country. Amidst the lavish decor, which includes talking statues, this mall features upscale boutiques such as Versace and chains stores such as Ann Taylor, Guess and Warner Bros. By fall 1996, the center will feature 35 more stores including The Disney Store and Estee Lauder.
Fashion Show. At this five-anchor mall, shoppers will find a number of better retailers under one roof. Since the mall’s renovation, which was completed in November 1993, stores such as Ann Taylor, Talbots, I.B. Diffusion and The Icing have found homes here. Steven Spielberg and Steve Wynn are also planning to open an upscale sandwich joint here called Dive.
The Boulevard. A few miles away from The Strip, The Boulevard mall has also undergone a recent expansion. It is 100 percent occupied and boasts such stores as Sears, J.C. Penney, Woolworth, The Body Shop, and Foot Locker.
The Meadows Mall. The Meadows Mall, which is also away from The Strip, is in the midst of its own renovation. The mall will get a new look, but will retain one of its main attractions — the carousel. Stores in this mall include Dillard’s, J.C. Penney, Charlotte Russe and Victoria’s Secret.
Belz Factory Outlet World. This outlet mall on the southeast edge of the city features Nike, G.H. Ball Apparel Store, Adolfo II, Levi’s, and a host of children’s apparel outlets.
Las Vegas Factory Stores of America. Also in southeast Las Vegas, shoppers in this mall will find outlet stores such as I.B. Diffusion, Vanity Fair, Jantzen, Izod, Arrow Shirts and Healthex for Children.
COTTON’S DESIGNER DOZEN
They range from the fledgling to the established. They’re coming from the East Coast and the West. One is even crossing the Atlantic.
They’re the 12 designers whose apparel Cotton Incorporated will feature in a 2,000-square-foot booth in the Hilton Center during the WWD/MAGIC International Show, all part of Cotton Inc.’s ongoing effort to support the designer segment and, in turn, raise cotton’s visibility in women’s wear.
The dozen designers lines on display are Byron Lars-Shirttails, Cynthia Rowley, Times Seven by Todd Oldham, Finis, Natalie D., MAG-Magaschoni Inc., Z-Zang Toi, More Dash Than Cash-Russell Bennett, Robin Piccone, Nicole Fahri-Diversion, Misc.-Janet Howard and Celia Tejada.
“We’re trying to bring new marketing ideas and concepts to the women’s wear area, with an emphasis on designers we feel are innovative and who are deserving of assistance,” said William Daddi, Cotton Inc.’s director of public relations, who’s overseeing the organization’s efforts at MAGIC.
Currently, cotton enjoys a 45 percent share of the women’s wear market and nearly a 57 percent share in the overall apparel market at retail, according to statistics gathered from NPD, a Port Washington, N.Y., consumer research group.
“[MAGIC] is a novel way for designers to sell, and we feel it’s going to be an important event,” Daddi said. Daddi said the 12 designers were selected after a long weeding-out process. He said “well over two dozen” designers were considered.
“We wanted to make sure that the ones we selected use cotton because they believe in it, not just because we were going to sponsor them at a show,” Daddi added. “We also wanted to get a good cross section of East and West Coast designers. Nicole [Fahri] is from London.”
The apparel featured must be at least 60 percent cotton.
Daddi went on to say Cotton Inc., the research and promotion arm of 30,000 U.S. cotton growers, “will continue to do this, provided it works well for everyone.” The WWD/MAGIC show represents Cotton Inc.’s second push into helping designers market their apparel.
As part of the 7th on Sixth Fashion Week in New York’s Bryant Park, Cotton Inc. has sponsored a joint runway presentation, allowing young designers to show their spring collections. The first was held in November 1993, the second was held this past November. Both featured four designers.
Zang Toi was featured in the first Cotton Inc. 7th on Sixth show.
“Cotton Inc. has been a big help for me,” said Toi. “I got considerable exposure after the first show, and I’m looking for good things at Las Vegas. I couldn’t have done this show on my own.”
Cotton Inc. wouldn’t say how much money it is spending on the sponsorship, although Daddi said it was “about the same we spent on the New York collections.”
Cotton Inc. spent about $100,000 on each of the two 7th on Sixth shows.
Daddi also said, “Other projects are in the works above and beyond Magic and 7th on Sixth.”
Las Vegas is synonymous with gambling, on-the-spot weddings (same thing, perhaps) and of course, ritzy entertainment. So, while in town for WWD/MAGIC International, take a break from the slot machines and check out acts premiering at the major casino-hotels along the Strip.
Headlining during the MAGIC show’s dates are the Righteous Brothers at the MGM Grand, the Moody Blues at Caesar’s Palace and Wayne Newton at the Luxor.
World renowned Cirque du Soleil’s production “Mystere” is at Treasure Island, while Vegas
institutions Siegfried and Roy are performing at the Mirage. The Radio City Rockettes are kicking up a storm at the Flamingo Hilton with Susan Anton. The Aladdin presents a country music variety show called Country Tonight. And knights joust nightly at Excalibur’s King Arthur’s Tournament.
The Las Vegas Hilton features Starlight Express, an Andrew Lloyd Weber show on rollerskates based on the “Little Engine that Could.”
Many shows include dinner. Check with your hotel’s guest relations desk for more information on show times and ticket prices. Viva Las Vegas!