The long-awaited Stateside edition of Rendez-Vous, the Paris trade show for directional menswear and womenswear, took place from Feb. 20-22 in New York. By the end of the three-day show at the Altman Building, it was clear that no other show in the past week would be more reflective of a growing appreciation on American soil for sophisticated European design and emerging questions over the current state of trade shows in a downsizing economic climate. Are intimate, invite-only formats the future of trade shows? How many more American trade shows must the industry accommodate? Just how salient is France’s fair business? To be certain, Rendez-Vous held its own with smart offerings by Nice Collective, SNS Herning, Surface to Air, Dana Lee, Rogan, Nom*D, Volta, Risto Bimbiloski, You Must Create, Thomas Engel Hart and Henrik Vibskov, and there are strong hints that the show will be back next season. Running concurrently with the show, Designers & Agents, split between the Chelsea Art Museum and Starrett Lehigh Center, managed to pool together a familiar, if not seemingly trimmer group of exhibitors, but there were few enticing collections in the mix, namely Sisii, Herno, Tylho, Nicholas K, Trovata, Sretsis and Josh Podoll. The same couldn’t be said for ENK’s Coterie, which continued to dominate three piers and the Javits Center through Tuesday. The show could be the last remaining truly American show. Although there was a prevailing sense of sameness throughout the majority of the collections, several brands stood well above the rest, most notably Current Elliot, with its gold studs and tie-dyed denim, cords and high-waisted styles, and Paul & Joe Sister’s orchid watercolor print dresses, lurex shifts with bow detailing, and chunky roll-sleeved knits. Also of interest were designs by Obakki, Nobody, Modern Amusement, Blue Notch, Hudson, Osklen, Aviator Nation, Threads for Thought (men’s) and Tenstate.

—Tim Yap