BLACK AND WHITE STARS AT SHOWS
Byline: David Grant Caplan
NEW YORK — The black-and-white combo was a predominant offering, while camouflage, floral and Asian-inspired prints also jockeyed for attendees’ attention at the recent trio of Manhattan print shows — Inprints NY at Arno’s Restaurant, Printsource at the Parsons School of Design and English Accents at the Marriott Marquis Hotel.
“Black and white has been extremely successful for us, whether in florals or geometrics,” said London Portfolio design director Audra Chaitram at her booth at Inprints NY.
At nearby exhibitor The Colorfield, Gloria Vanderbilt head designer Elina Zauberman snatched up a black-and-white floral print.
“We were looking for black-and-white, sort of Prada-esque tropicals,” she said. “I think black and white is really easy to wear, since it goes well with every palette, including brights and pastels.”
The Colorfield owner Adam Reed chimed in, “black and white is very wearable — it’s much cleaner than a lot of dustier colors.”
Inprints NY attendee Kim Maglione, an assistant woven designer with the Boston-based sportswear firm Susan Bristol, said the inclusion of a black-and-white print-based collection for spring “makes sense since you need one group in spring that’s transitional.”
Over at Printsource, black-and-white prints were also hot sellers, said vendors.
“Black and white is popular for both geometrics and florals because they are very sharp and it’s a very strong contrast,” said Lisa James, The Style Council’s art director.
At English Accents, Jack Jones Designs owner Helen Pegge said her firm’s black-and-white prints were popular because “it’s a reaction to how much color has been around.”
Colorful florals, tropicals and stripes — mostly in soft pastels and citrus hues — were also popular at the shows, which coordinated their efforts for the first time under the banner of Print & Textile Design Week/New York.
“I saw a lot of florals and a lot of roses,” said Perry Ellis’s head designer for dresses, Isabel Boruk, who attended Inprints NY and English Accents. “There are different kinds of simple flowers, so it’s more sophisticated, feminine and more soft looking.”
Another Inprints NY exhibitor, Avy Iny, owner of Israeli design firm Avi Iny Designs, said “dusty ice cream colors and sophisticated pastels are popular+ it’s a trend in Europe and they’ve taken on that trend here.”
Susan Bristol’s Maglione said she was in search of floral prints to complement her black-and-white prints.
“We’re looking for flat floral tropicals and some black-and-white Pucci-inspired florals,” she said.
Ellen Skane, senior designer of ready-to-wear at Minneapolis-based Target, was also in search of florals.
“We’re very interested in flat florals and flat florals that are geometric,” Skane said at Printsource. “We’re also interested in citrus fruits and we’re looking at more leafy prints.”
At Printsource, Tom Cody Design designer Davinder Madaher said “bold graphical tropicals have done well for us,” while a few booths over, owner of the eponymous Kim Parker Designs said “florals in linen and stripes are doing really well.”
Further uptown at English Accents, Ruth Smart, a designer with Westcott Design, said “we’ve been selling loads and loads of stripes — but clean stripes — and flowers with hard, crisp edges.”
Lindsay Brown, an assistant textile designer with exhibitor Paul Vogel, echoed Smart’s observation: “Stripes have been doing better and fine lines in citrusy colors have been doing quite well.”
Another hot print at each of the three-day shows, which wrapped up their three-day run Jan. 11, was camouflage.
Lucy Keeler, owner of London-based Keelergordon, a first-time exhibitor at Printsource, said “anything that’s camouflage is doing well+the camouflage look is hot in Europe right now, so I knew that it would follow here.”
Gloria Vanderbilt’s Zauberman said she recently bought camouflage prints from Colorfield when the design studio visited the manufacturer’s showroom.
“They had a really beautiful feminine one,” she said. “Because of our market we have to be very careful — we can’t look too masculine.”
Target’s Skahan said she is “really interested” in camouflage, particularly for the discount retailer’s contemporary collections.
Another favorite with exhibitors and attendees was Asian-inspired prints.
“The Japanese influence is really beautiful and it is the thing that jumped out at me because it was the newest,” said Susan Shapouri, director of design and concept development at Spiegel in Chicago, while thumbing through the offerings at Tom Cody Design at Printsource.
Tom Cody’s Madaher said, “we’re showing Japanese and kimono-influenced prints and the shades we’re using are salmon, coral and aqua and we’ve done large scale florals to go with it.”
Also at Printsource, Marcie Designs owner Edward Soloway said the popularity of Asian-inspired prints “makes sense because in the last few seasons we visited places like Russia, China and India.”
Vendors said images also were selling well at the shows.
“People are going crazy with graphics,” said The Style Council’s James, whose offerings included fruit images.
English Accents exhibitor Timney Fowler owner of an eponymous design studio said “obscure graphics or things that almost look misprinted” were popular. His offerings included a series of soccer-themed images.
Westcott Design’s Smart said her firm’s offerings of images of fruits, kittens and human faces are popular “with people who want something quirky for T-shirts.”
Geometric prints were also popular at the three shows.
At Printsource, Printed Planet sales consultant Zoe May Reeve said her firm’s geometric prints are “soft with broken edges and swirls,” characteristics many attendees were in search of, she said.
Marcie Designs showed many mosaic prints, a pattern Soloway said is popular since it is geometric-based and it has a “nice little punch to it.”
While it was clear what prints were hot, many vendors noticed what was not: embroidery.
“I think embroidery and embellishments have peaked,” said Marci Design’s Soloway.
Daniel Sager Design director Daniel Sager agreed, “We’re selling less and less embellishments than we have in the past.”
Also at Printsource, The Style Council’s James echoed, “We’re still selling embroidery, but I don’t think it’s doing as well as it used to be.”