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LA FASHION MARKET WEEK – DAY 1 – WHERE WAS EVERYONE?
It’s Fall12 Market Week in the downtown Los Angeles Fashion District. I got downtown around lunch yesterday for Day 1. The carparks were full. After the success of the Las Vegas trade shows and the good feedback from the recent New York shows, it looked like we were in for a big day.
I headed for the New Mart building to drop my bag at Michelle Roy Designs Showroom on the 8th floor. Michelle very kindly allows me to work out of her showroom during market. My good friend Tracy Engelien shows her brilliant new basics collection, Boxie, there. We all have a good laugh between buyer meetings and my recon missions around the fashion district. The elevators at the New Mart are usually a good indication of how busy market is. There are only two lifts servicing the 12 floors of showrooms. They are either so full you have to wait for the next one or you wait forever as they stop at every floor – sometimes they inexplicably skip the floor you are waiting on.
So I was expecting a long wait. But, nup – I got the first elevator that came and it wasn’t even half full. I asked myself, “Where is everyone?” It’s a question I heard all day.
My first mission of the day was to check out the relatively new accessories, lifestyle and gift show Coeur, on the 11th floor of the Cooper Building. This was only the second show for Coeur – their first was the Spring/Summer showcase at last October’s Market Week. They do two LA shows a year – Spring/Summer in October and Fall/Winter in March.
The 11th floor of the Cooper is a large, bright, naturally lit white space – perfect for a trade show. 70 brands are showing – mainly women’s with some unisex. The majority are US brands (mostly made in the US) with some French and German designers mixed in. The Co-Founder and Creative Director of Coeur, Henri Myers told me, “We are creating something different for the fashion retailer. We are looking to provide a diversity of options.”
The trending native American motif is strong among the jewelry designers with lots of beading and turquoise. As is the use of brass.
Tote bags continue to be popular. Color blocking is all the rage. The raw unfinished leather look in bags is impressive.
Shoes are definitely the thing at present. Boots everywhere – ankle and calf lengths reign. I really like the embellished heels trend – lots of color, studs, jewels. You can just go for it right now with your shoes.
Some of the collections that caught my eye were:
- Gilda Grey with art deco undertones in Czech glass, Swarovski crystals, coral on sterling and liquid silver. I loved their novelty reflecting bowties in bright colors. They are doing the Native American thing in classic styling.
- Many Will See‘s inspired one-of-a-kind creations are new every month. Handmade in LA for natural materials, they also produce a reorder collection. For readers in Australia, you will soon be able to buy Many Will See at The Happiness Place that opens in Brisbane this month.
- Symmetry scarves are made in Los Angeles. The transforming pieces with a hardware and grommet attaching system use a mix of fabrics and prints make them a soft edgy feel. The scarf in the photo below is a good example. The tartan with the hardware reminds me of the punk skirts from back in the 70′s mixed with a classic grey wool.
- Graf & Lantz bags are also made in LA. Their color blocked felt and leather totes are their best sellers. I loved their range of felt and leather wine bottle carriers.
- Jo Handbags are deconstructed classics made in New York and Mexico. Shoulder bags, totes, clutches with removable chains and straps blend boot leather, woven vinyl, burlap, waxed canvas, copper, silver and brass. The raw, unfinished feel gives the collection substance and quality. They are available in 150 doors in the US and internationally. For those in Australia, you can find them at Burnt Orange in Mosman in Sydney.
The foot traffic at Coeur was quite good. I liked the sake tasting table. I think the show has a lot of potential. I look forward to seeing how it grows from here.
On the way down in the elevator, I was surprised to bump into the owners of a busy, highly regarded showroom in the New Mart. They are usually so busy at market, I had to ask what they were up to. Like a lot of people, they were trying to find out where everyone was. I’ll see if I can clear up that mystery today. But I suspect, we are experiencing buyer fatigue from the rolling trade show circuit that begins the year. The cars were there but where were the people?