Corey Lynn Calter is Texas-bound — finally.
This story first appeared in the March 5, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“This is my first trip to Texas, which I’m ashamed and embarrassed about,” said the bubbly Calter, who is based in Los Angeles and whose contemporary dresses and sportswear have been shown in Dallas for almost her entire 13 years in business. Fashion Industry Gallery tapped Calter as guest designer at its fall market, March 12 to 14.
“It’s a market that I really believe in,” she added. “Our showroom — Laurie Hasson and her team — have really planted their feet there. The territory has been very loyal to me, and the buyers do well with the collection.”
Calter will be feted at FIG’s Thursday cocktail hour at 5:30 p.m. in the lobby and park.
“Corey Lynn’s designs are hugely popular with our buyers, and it will be wonderful for these stores to get to meet her and view selections from her fall line during the cocktail party,” said Shelli Mers, FIG director.
“FIG is hopeful about March market,” Mers continued. “We are aware of the industry’s climate, but we are also aware of the strength of our focus in this industry. Our tenants are producing beautiful product, with a notable emergence in our kids lines.”
More than 17 contemporary children’s lines are at FIG, including Juicy Baby and Couture Girl, Petit Joie, Joe’s Jeans Kids, Little Ella by Ella Moss and Splendid Girl.
Calter, who specializes in feminine, fitted dresses, blouses and skirts in exclusive prints, has added sweaters in wool, cashmere and silk blends for fall. One favorite is a slouchy cowl-neck tunic with a ruched sleeve.
“I do not want to be held captive by what’s going on with the economy,” Calter declared. “We need to continually move forward. Everybody would probably say we are crazy to add sweaters now. But it adds a layer to my business that is missing…and I personally am a big sweater fan.”
That’s not to say Calter hasn’t made adjustments. Noticing some buyers don’t even want to look at dresses wholesaling above $78, she shaved profit margins on fall, which wholesales from $59 to $139. She’s also developing a lower-priced label for spring 2010.
Her June delivery offers an Asian-inspired group, while July features horse-cameo prints and oversize chains. “This is an optimistic collection,” she said. “You come here to buy something that makes you feel happy and unique and on trend. People want a little spark of pleasure.”
More than 80 percent of her production is sewn in Los Angeles, which she considers an advantage that affords greater control over quality, consistency and sizing. Calter said business has grown every year and is up slightly so far this year.
Other new lines at FIG include Geren Ford’s streamlined sportswear, Burning Torch detailed fashions in recycled fabrics, Beyond Vintage retro-inspired looks and Kai-aakman, an urban casual young designer collection from Korea, all at Findings; eco-friendly Matt & Nat bags at SHOP, and Spun organic clothing and Love Shop printed silk scarves at Federico Mariel.
Designer Laura McGrew, who sells mainly through her shop in Kansas City, will introduce her collection in the SHOP juried temporary show. Her line features crushed and textured fabrics and ranges from mesh leggings to tailored dresses and jackets.
Elsewhere, Kaitlin & Co. will replace the Valerie + Co. showroom, offering the same resources plus PureStyle Girlfriends shapewear. Kaitlin Moore, who worked for Valerie Cubbage and bought the showroom from her, said, “Now is a good time to start building the business and better relationships with the customers that we have. I think it can only get better. It has to.”