Byline: Nina Malkin

LOS ANGELES — With so much interest and speculation surrounding MAGIC’s first foray into women’s wear, it’s no surprise that manufacturers have gone to great lengths, in investment and inventiveness, for their exhibition booths.
BUM Equipment’s 1,600-square-foot space and Cotton Incorporated’s 2,000-square-foot area are among the most ambitious entrants. Within its green-stained birch walls, the BUM Equipment booth boasts shadow boxes, cage-like wire mannequins and props to complement various clothing groups, such as megaphones and cheerleader pompons for the collegiate collection.
“Our junior line is one of the strongest in the market, and we wanted our booth to say that and be one of the best ones in the show,” said Teri Tabb, BUM Equipment’s director of shop concepts. The design of Cotton Incorporated’s large space is low key, to reflect the company’s image as the research and promotional organization for America’s cotton growers.
“We wanted to portray a very natural-looking environment, so you’ll be seeing a lot of light colors, natural wood fixtures, natural canvases with some black lighting fixtures,” said director of public relations Bill Daddi. “Many people, whether they are individuals that may be familiar with you by name but haven’t encountered anyone from your company, are going to develop an image of the company based on the design and the environment of the booth.
“We have a particularly unique situation in that Cotton Incorporated is bringing 12 designers to the show,” Daddi continued, “so we were faced with the challenge of providing the designers with a very contemporary, sophisticated environment that was still relatively neutral, so as to allow them the ability to express their own image within our space.”
The Cotton Inc. space will include “lounges, private meeting areas and a central common area that will be a Cotton Incorporated kiosk to direct people to the designers and answer general questions,” said Daddi. The exhibit was created by New York’s Union Square Group.
Theme booths, too, are popular. El Paso Jeans Co. has an Old West-inspired general store, and Rag Tag’s booth will evoke the firm’s retro Americana stance. Brian Williams, president of NDI Display, a Sylmar, Calif.-based company that designs and builds exhibition booths and showrooms, has created booths for WWD/MAGIC that run into the “couple of hundred thousand dollar range.”
But most manufacturers think the expense is worth it. “An eye-catching booth is absolutely essential; it mirrors the image you want to present to the retailer and the way the retailer presents itself ultimately to the consumer,” said Carolyn Most, vice president of corporate planning at Crystal Brands, parent of Izod and Gant. Crystal Brands has taken a three-booth space (300 square feet) at WWD/MAGIC, and to spotlight the firm’s Izod Women line, the company made a “significant investment” in a booth, according to Most.
Z. Cavaricci’s booth for WWD/MAGIC features handfinished maple, beveled-glass showcases, graphics in antique-style frames and tapestry-upholstered stools.