New venues, multiple competing shows and an absolutely massive assortment of brands created a rather overwhelming atmosphere in Las Vegas last week. Although many shows or shows-within-shows aimed for intimacy, the sheer volume of exhibiting brands in the city made navigating the show circuit akin to running a marathon.

The granddaddy of the Vegas shows, Advanstar’s MAGIC Marketplace, which ran Feb. 16-18, continued its reign as the largest and most sprawling of the Vegas shows. Covering two so-called campuses this season, the show was split by gender. The Las Vegas Convention Center housed the women’s section WWD MAGIC, MAGICKids, Sourcing at MAGIC and a new show-within-a-show concept, the FN Platform, an aesthetically pleasing showcase of all-white booths that housed approximately 500 women’s, men’s and kids’ footwear brands, including major players such as Kenneth Cole and Camuto Group. Peggy Merck of Camuto Group reported brisk business and steady traffic for the company both at its FN Platform booth, which showcased the brands Arturo Chang, BCBGeneration, BCBGMaxAzria, Kensie Girl, Lucky Brand and Vince Camuto, and its large Jessica Simpson apparel and lifestyle booth in the WWD MAGIC section.

In addition, the Convention Center also housed the Pool Tradeshow, which continued to be an artsy/kitschy mix of apparel, shoes, accessories and household gadgets, some of which were available directly for sale in the Cash and Carry section.

The Mandalay Bay Convention Center, across town, was the site of the rest of Advanstar’s offerings, and had a decidedly more masculine bent. Upstairs, the MAGIC show continued with sections for traditional menswear, premium and contemporary menswear, street-driven and young men’s apparel, and S.L.A.T.E., a special juried area for skate, surf and street brands. While the Premium and Street sections seemed cramped and overrun with brands that offered sameness and row after row of men’s underwear brands, S.L.A.T.E.’s more intimate and relaxed atmosphere served it well. Key brands showing there included L-R-G; Obey, which offered current denim trends such as acid-wash leggings and coated jeans at affordable prices; and Triple Five Soul, whose fall 2010 collection was inspired by the pre-Cold War Soviet Union.

The first floor of Mandalay Bay served as the new home of Project Las Vegas, which continued to be the most extensive showcase for men’s and women’s premium denim and contemporary fashion. Well organized and easy to navigate, it featured more than 750 brands. Included in the vast mix were four impressive lines making their debut: Improvd, Project founder Sam Ben-Avraham’s directional womenswear collection that offers cool style at affordable prices; The Same Guy, a rather uncharacteristically graphic- and logo-free line of men’s and women’s basics from Christian Audigier; Propriété de, a men’s workwear- and street-inspired line; and Double Fantasy, a line of chambray collared shirts by showroom owner Vince Gonzales. Established LA-based denim brand Kasil also unveiled its new The Workshop collaboration platform at the show. The first looks were created by Rachel Zoe’s former assistant Taylor Jacobson and included several ultra skinny fits in a variety of washes. While most exhibitors reported good results from the show, foot traffic seemed steady but not as intense as in prior seasons.

Advanstar also launched a new show concept in a room just outside the entrance to Project. Dubbed Workroom, it featured a mix of approximately 20 apparel, footwear and accessories brands and was meant to resemble a cutting-edge specialty boutique that specialized in cool and up-and-coming designs. Key exhibitors there included Lacoste, Radcliffe Denim, Hyden Yoo and the surf-inspired brand ambsn. The show also featured the debut of Cloth, the new line by former Anzevino & Florence designer William Anzevino, and the return of the brand Kanvis, which had been on hiatus the past few seasons. Designed by Kfir Levy, this men’s and women’s line no longer features basics and is much more fashion driven than before and now features asymmetric jackets, henleys with interesting hardware detail and wispy knit tops.

Further down The Strip, at the posh Bellagio Hotel, trade show powerhouse ENK International hosted the fourth and largest ever edition of its ENK Vegas show, which featured more than 150 hand-picked exhibitors across two ballrooms in a setting that was again intimate, elegant and inviting. Top denim brands such as Hudson, Parasuco, J Brand, Paige, Serfontaine, Habitual, Agave and Citizens of Humanity served as some of the show’s key attractions and offered the season’s top denim trends including the ubiquitous jegging and dark-wash styles. Serfontaine showed edgy, rock-inspired styles that included a denim jacket with leopard-print sequins on the back and distressed jeans with glimmering sequin insets.

Capsule Las Vegas also grew and included approximately 150 mostly street, up-and-coming and young designer brands in its location on the fifth floor ballroom of The Venetian hotel. Although traffic appeared on the slow side on Wednesday, the final day of the two-day event, exhibitors overall said they were happy with the results of the show, which again featured clothing racks and wooden shelves to separate its "booths." Among the many impressive brands on display there was Temple Bags, a new LA-based bag company that creates modern satchels and knapsacks from recycled surplus WWII cloth.

The next round of trade shows in Vegas is set to run earlier than usual next season: Aug. 17-19.

—Christopher Blomquist