Monday morning was freezing like it was nobody's business to be out and about. But I had a fashion trade fair to go to and I wasn't going to flake on my friend just because of icy winds and bone chilling temperatures...
So anyway, we met up at her office lobby in Midtown Manhattan and after a hearty salad at Chop't on West 52nd Street, headed for Pier 94, where Coterie (clothing and accessories) and Sole Commerce (shoes) were ensconced.
The Coterie line-up was pretty impressive, although I would say its more of for the mature market. Think Badgley Mischka, Calvin Klein, Anne Klein, Tahari Suits, Cole Haan, you get my drift. The only stalls that excited me were that of Marimekko and Gerard Darel. (Does this mean the latter label will finally have more presence here? I mean, Gerard Darel bags are everywhere in Paris, apparently almost all French girls supposedly have one, but its pretty much hard to find here!)
For those not familiar with Gerard Darel, it is a family-run clothing and accessories company established in France in 1971. But the label is best known for their 24-hour, 36-hour and 48-hour bags. It also helps that it has French actress Charlotte Gainsbourg as it's spokesmodel and muse. If genes were the sole determinant in making a bag a classic, then GD bags might as well claim iconic status because Charlotte's mother is Jane Birkin, yes she of the Hermes Birkin bag fame.
Just to pique your interest, here's a teaser of what the basic 24-hour bag (called the Saint-Germain) looks like...although this basic shape comes in different styles, materials and colors...
...plus a drool worthy piece made of shiny python skin called Hollywood, that I just have to add to my growing wishlist...
The designs are quite simple really , with drawstrings and some ruching for a bit of that boho flavor that French girls are known for. You like?
Ok, back to the trade fair review. I think the best section at Pier 94 was the shoe trade fair section! Hehehe! (Of course, I love shoes although I have to seriously cut down on purchases this year. Actually, I am targeting to buy just one last pair this year and THEN I'm really done! I realize that I just have too many pairs of shoes that I don't even get to use here, and to think that I have lots more back home! This calls for a shoe closet clean out sale very soon!) If you like footwear from BCBG (Max Azria and BCBGirls), Betsey Johnson, Camper, Castaner (espadrilles), Chie Mihara, Delman, French Sole, Frye (boots), London Sole, L.A.M.B., Missoni, Rafe New York, and Sam Edelman, then this is the sort of place that will get your heart thumping! My most fabulous find here, the sort that I can't get out of my head was Mystique. They make these gorgeous capri sandals...
One thing I realized from going to a trade show such as this is that there are so many pieces that buyers can pick from, but ultimately, there's a budget they have to work with and a market that they are shopping for, that its such a shame that some products that were designed with equal care and attention will not make it to the shop floor. Really, buyers are a vital part of a retail business. A discerning buyer has to consider sell-through among many things, so they have to pick items that will sell fast and sell well, but they also have to balance salability with a well-edited, fashion forward collection so that customers don't get bored. That's what sets apart shopping institutions like Lane Crawford, Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, and net-a-porter (in my opinion at least), they can pick out the cream of the crop, and sniff out a trend way before others can, hence selling out items faster than they can order it.
Oh, and here's the thing for F/W 2009. Most of the stuff you see now will still be around, if I were to base it on what I've seen so far: flat and heeled boots, wedges, platforms, pumps, gladiator sandals, ballet flats, nothing new really. Except that they come in a variety of skins, prints and colors. Still, what a relief right?
Thing was, everything seemed the same (shoes, coats, sweaters, dresses, gowns, suits...) and there was nothing really new that set our hearts racing, so my friend and I decided to skip The Javits Center venue and headed for Fifth Avenue. For window shopping only of course!
Best find? The Repetto Bardo ballet flats in metallic purple for $93 (60% off baby!)
Close runner-up is this J Brand capri jeans with a 25" inseam...for petites like my friend and I, these jeans stop right at the ankles, so they're like denim leggings, perfect for slipping into boots, no alterations necessary! Still cute when worn with flats and sexy when paired with heels!
That's why my friend and I made a date to go back to Barneys this Friday. She's coming back for these jeans! Heehee!
(Photos courtesy of gerarddarel.com, delcina.com and shoprumor.com)