Byline: Anne D’Innocenzio

NEW YORK — There was a decided interest in chunky knits, jackets with texture, colorful printed tops and lots of leather pieces at the latest edition of the Fashion Coterie.
Buyers came to the three-day event, which ended Feb. 22, buoyed by solid holiday and early spring selling and fresh takes for fall on continuing trends like tweed jackets and bottoms, animal prints and crochet trims.
The show, staged at the Show Piers on the Hudson, at 55th Street and 12th Avenue here, featured 700 exhibitors, ranging from David Dart’s burnout soft dressing group to the more trendy lime-green python print dresses from Mica.
The roster of exhibitors grew from the 525 vendors that showcased their lines at the last Coterie edition, held Sept. 27 to 29, according to a spokeswoman for ENK Productions, the show’s producer. ENK officials counted about 9,000 buyers, a 10 percent increase over the last installment.
“We had a great January, a great Christmas,” said Dara Blumenau, buyer of contemporary sportswear for Gregor Simmons Ltd., a New York buying office for 75 specialty store clients.
Blumenau was focused on trends such as animal prints, tweeds, scarf-tie skirts and plaids.
Blumenau was also bullish on the jackets.
“Everyone is tired of the three-quarter-sleeve shirt and the twinset,” she said, adding that she ordered some jackets from Kenar, which after a two-year absence is staging a return for fall under the auspices of Garfield Marks Development Group, as well as from bridge sportswear firms Kasada and Thalian.
Blumenau also placed orders for T-shirts from Anti-Flirt, a Paris-based resource.
At the French Connection booth, Amy Albert and Anna Vozzo, owners of Habitat, a specialty store in Brooklyn, were buying the contemporary resource’s “fuzzy skirts.”
“We are interested in cozy, lots of texture and chunky knits,” said Vozzo. They were also planning to place orders from Laundry by Shelli Segal and Chaiken.
At the David Dart booth, Bryson Hopkins, vice president of J. Jill Merchandising, based in Hingham, Mass., was discussing private-label proposals in holiday knit dresses. She was also using the show to get a read on fall trends.
“We are just cherry-picking, getting a sense of color for the season,” said Hopkins.
She added that J. Jill will be zeroing in on such trends as embellishments, chunky sweaters and trims.
Debbie Dicker, owner of The Village Goldsmith in Scarsdale, N.Y., was in search of tweeds, soft leather and colors such as bright blues and greens. Among her purchases were T-shirts from Cop Copine and skirts from C.P. Studio, as well as crochet sweaters from Cathy Walker.
Meanwhile, exhibitors seemed pleased with traffic and sales.
Monica Forman, president of Magaschoni Apparel Group, which produces the contemporary label Mag, said orders should exceed that of the last Coterie show.
About 65 percent of the bookings at the show were for the fall season. The remainder were for summer.
Some of the looks at Mag that caught buyers’ attention were tweed skirts with leather trims, hand-knit sweaters and miniature shawls, Forman said.
Howard Sheer, president of New Frontier, which is undergoing a facelift for fall under the stewardship of its new creative director, Pam Capone, did well with chunky sweaters, denim pants and black high-tech jackets.
Sheer said the company picked up 30 new accounts.
At Gruppo Americano, which was showing its signature bridge label and its contemporary brand Tempesta, chunky knits and suede designs were the winners.
Company officials said they were pleased with the show, even though it started off a little slow.
The company’s two labels combined generated orders of about half a million dollars, a 20 percent increase over the last Coterie, an official added.
At Emma Black, which bowed last fall at retail, the company did well with a variety of leather treatments, including cracked leather, stretch leather and python, according to Mario Martin, national sales manager.
The company paired eather pieces with beaded halters and other ornamented tops.
Martin projected that orders should reach about $200,000, adding that he picked up 15 new accounts. At the last Coterie, the line rang up orders of $125,000.
Custo Barcelona, which had long focused on printed tops, is now expanding into skirts and dresses and was showing its expanded repertoire at the Coterie.
Some of the styles that did well were crocheted skirts with fringe and sequined halter dresses, said Lisa Brigham, national sales manager. She said Custo picked up 20 new accounts.

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