We've just returned from the Capsule trade show where the coolest contemporary and designer men's brands are showing off their Fall 2009 offerings. Walking between the four floors of stalls were the buying teams from Opening Ceremony, Odin, OAK, and a slew of other well-known New York stores. Later this week we'll be bringing you some highlights from the event. Until then, check out the atmosphere at the show.
Much like in New York, London Fashion Week not only means dozens of runway shows every day but also the arrival of a whole mess of trade shows. It is the Spring 09 season for everyone remember, and just because a designer or brand does not show during Fashion Week doesn't mean they didn't design a collection that buyers will need to see. Because buyers come from all walks of retail life, and because there are only so many hours in the day, trade shows necessarily organize themselves. In New York, that means the illustrious water views of Coterie and for many fashion people (who may or may not have braved the Fashion Week storm) the event comes and goes quietly. Now, it is something we can see both sides of, the idea of whether or not a trade show should be made into a big fashion spectacle but, because we are officially (gasp) the press, we have to say we like seeing them covered.
So...today we walked into the "tents" to pick up our Exhibition pass and realized we were walking into one massive trade show. You see, New York Fashion Week had us so frazzled that we failed to put it all together--or at least the scale of it. Pop up cafes and champagne bars, multiple floors of booths divided by accessories and ready to wear made up this wholesale behemoth and though we thoroughly regretted the decision to wear heels by the end of it, fashion we did absorb. Our favorite booths were part of The British Fashion Council's New Gen group, sponsored by Tophshop. Between Felder Felder (who showed today), House of Holland, and Sandra Backlund there are quite a few names The New Gen can count on for street cred. It seems a shame to see such talented designers forced to show their collection on a rolling rack rather than a runway but alas, maybe the New Gen and Exhibition will change all that.
A very interesting article landed on our desk this morning (teehee). Portfolio's Lisa Marsh wrote an article on the discord between the menswear shows and buying season. She used this week's 'abbreviated schedule' of men's shows that took place in accordance with the trade shows happening in New York right now, Capsule, Collective, and Project, as a talking point for whether a men's fashion week would ever pick up in New York. Basically, about a decade ago, there was such a thing and it came after Milan and Paris in July. American designers, felt their collections weren't given enough attention because of this (no one wants to be the third in line and right before women's kicks off) so they started moving their showings to Milan instead. And the rest is recent history. New York's men's fashion week kind of faded away and now, we're left with the remnants. Yesterday we were meant to attend the Obakki show but had a really intense (but fun) shoot that ran late. Normally a show and a shoot wouldn't have even been scheduled on the same day to avoid that exact problem but we figured we would already have covered Capsule and wouldn't need to see some random runway presentation--if worse came to worse. What we found out today, in the article, was that the Obakki show was part of a handful of shows happening this week that are trying to revive a menswear week in New York. It was, to our surprise, kind of an organized 'let's revive men's fashion week' thing. Well, brand reps, you could have fooled us! We certainly appreciate the invitation but wish we'd know that the show had a context. In the end it's really not anyone's fault. The point is that menswear is experiencing some tricky booking conflicts and will (we hope) sort itself out in the coming years. Everyone says menswear is back in New York (meaning that men are dressing better than ever and the collections from contemporary to high price points are more interesting) and we just hope that means a proper fashion week is in the works.
Only in California would a trade show offer complimentary Mind & Body seminars to its VIP guests. Think this has anything to do with stocking your boutique full of the latest street wear and eco-friendly garments? Yeah, we don't really get it either. We suppose though, it's just another example of the ever-reaching push towards that capitalist venture called 'lifestyle branding' (an asset and liability Marc Johns poignantly touches on). Class Trade Show took place at the beginning of March, and today WWD reports with an interview with the trade show's founder, Jason Bates. The trade show business has been growing every season with more of the public paying attention to these events. Most likely, this growth is due to the spectacle that has become Fashion Week and the fact that every season, consumers, retailers, and fashion people, become even more alienated from the designers and their clothing. Not convinced? A twenty by twenty foot space at Class Trade Show, including four tables, 12 chairs, eight rolling racks, and three waste baskets will cost you $16000. Queue trade shows as the new Fashion Week.
Today we popped into the Coterie Trade Show where the godforsaken clothes are actually bought and sold! If you fancy a quick glance at Fall 08, off the runway, here are some photos we snapped in attendance. Coterie, one of the most prominent trade shows in America, takes place in the Javits Center and is vast and sprawling. The maze of designers is only navigable by the atmosphere of their respective booths. Indeed, as any good New Yorker knows, even in the space of a kitchen tile one can make themselves known. Tory Birch had a guard with clipboard as the booth was 'by appointment only', Rag & Bone was prohibiting press pictures (thanks lady, we've got the runway shots anyway), and Earnest Sewn built a huge wooden wall to act as a shield against the lesser-merchandised vendors. Adam by Adam Lippies, Diabless, Manoush, and Iodice, on the other hand, hosted mini-Coterie parties in their respective booths where all were welcome. Some representatives hired models to pass out look books, while others simply mowed-down on sandwiches, staring into space. It was day three of the event, after all, and everyone let their true colors shine through. Some of our favorite designers at the show, coming soon.
ShoWest, which wrapped up its annual event in Las Vegas yesterday, might just be the sexiest "trade show" around. The industry event is where film producers, movie theater owners, and, of course, Hollywood stars come together to celebrate the big moneymaking projects they have on tap.
This year, the big buzz swirled around Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, for which Jerry Bruckheimer unveiled the trailer and which could help make 2007 box-office returns even bigger than 2006.
Grindhouse was also impossible to ignore: Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, who each directed one half of the double-feature horror flick due out April 6, were honored with ShoWest's Best Director award for 2007. To see the rest of the winners, read more