LOS ANGELES — The MAGIC trade show loomed over the five-day market here that ended Tuesday as retailers cautiously shopped for old standbys and conserved buying power and energy for the industry event in Las Vegas later this month.
Despite the market’s focus on holiday and resort collections, vendors and retailers said stores were mostly filling late fall and holiday orders or getting a start on early spring deliveries. Buyers traveled from Canada, Japan, Florida, the western U.S. and elsewhere.
Sales representatives said one problem was that resort doesn’t make much sense for Southern California, where the weather is sunny almost year-round and Los Angeles labels don’t invest in making separate collections to ship only a month after holiday deliveries go in late October.
Retailer Lisa Kline ordered shorts of all lengths, among other items, as new spring purchases for her eponymous Los Angeles store. Kline predicted her customers will replace the party outfit of jeans and a sexy top with shorts and heels.
Shorts were also the theme at 10 Eleven Showroom, owner Betsee Isenberg said. Top sellers were Joie’s cargo-style cotton poplin shorts that fell to the knee and Vince’s version that rolled up to mid-thigh and belted with a sash. Still, Isenberg said the show should be cut. “The August market is a waste of time,” she said. “The traffic is never that good.”
Retailer Fraser Ross agreed. “We go just in case someone came up with a great idea, but MAGIC [Aug. 29-Sept. 1, which includes WWDMAGIC,] is definitely eclipsing this market,” said the owner of trend-setting Kitson in Los Angeles.
Jonas Walker, retail relations manager at the California Market Center, which housed the Brighte show and numerous showrooms, said building officials were contemplating ideas to help generate more traffic but he was unable to provide specifics.
“We’re considering adding events to the market in the future, but nothing has been cemented, ” he said.
Overall attendance figures were not available.
Still, the show was an opportunity for Three Dots Inc. to unveil the first resort collection from new creative director, Yuchin Mao, in its knits showroom. Mao’s previous experience at Helmut Lang enlivened the batwing tops and racerback tanks, both of which paired mesh with a supima-modal blend.
At Disney Vintage, which recently launched a new Muppets line that Kitson ordered, business was also eclipsed by the upcoming shows. “It’s been mellow, but we’ve written business,” said brand manager Chelsea Green. “It’s an awkward time because of MAGIC, but all of our regulars stopped by and added on tons of new stuff.”
Hillary Rush, owner of the Los Angeles boutique bearing her name, said she, too, was saving her dollars for the coming shows in Las Vegas and New York, where Coterie will be held Sept. 20-22. “I didn’t see a whole lot of newness at this show,” she said while shopping at the Designers & Agents Annex event at the New Mart. “I’ll be at Magic and Coterie. But I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss any L.A. trends, because a few vendors only show here.”
Rush said she primarily wrote orders with her old accounts, but managed to get in a couple of new orders at vendors such as Fifi, where she picked up whisper-thin striped cashmere sweaters.
“I’m staying away from the sequined, bedazzled styles,” she said.
The Bohemian trend for embellishments and sequins was disappearing from showrooms. Dusty Costa, sales manager for Laurie Hasson Showroom, said nautical looks and dressier attire will prevail. Echoing that sentiment was Joe Pham, who designs the contemporary label Jak & Rae owned by Hot Kiss Inc. He opted for gold lurex instead of sequins as accents on his Victorian-inspired resort collection.
Dressier tops were on the shopping list for retailer Lisa Stanley, who opened Ruby Boutique in Scottsdale, Ariz., in April. She was also on the hunt for belts, which, she said, “are so trendy right now.”
Indeed, Jacqueline Lee Rose, West Coast sales director for the showroom owned by the Los Angeles boutique Satine, said: “A lot of people were trying to imagine what they could wear with a belt and cowboy boot.”
Popular items were dresses and jersey tops, including Corey Lynn Calter’s pleated olive gauze shirtdress trimmed with wood buttons and tribal cloth.
Buyers liked the kimono silhouette, scooping up Geren Ford’s silk dresses and tunics at EM Productions Showroom and SuperLuckyCat’s bell-sleeve tops fashioned out of vintage scarves at the Nikki & Lucy Showroom.
But subtlety was absent in the misses’ lines represented by Sharon Koshet Sales. Hits included In Rags’ pink polkadot tank trimmed in lace; Mesmerize’s sateen mandarin jackets in bright red and aqua, and, Isabel’s ruched and studded jacket in crushed velvet.
Ilene Stern, owner of Ilene’s in Westlake, Calif., said she is still doing brisk business with bling.
“Embellished and Bohemian are still big for us,” Stern said, adding that she expects this holiday season to be one of her best, particularly for items such as embellished velvet and brocade jackets, jeans and silk camisoles.
“This holiday is going to be over the top,” she predicted.
- Shorts of varying lengths
- Less shine and fewer embellishments
- African influence, big wooden beads and sash ties
- Kimono styling in silk wrap tops and dresses