The latest round of womenswear trade shows were held in New York last week, thereby concluding a f/w 2011-12 tradeshow cycle that was so tight schedule-wise that some brands and show producers had less than 48 hours to travel from Las Vegas and set up for the next show in New York. Here’s a look at what transpired at some of the major shows in New York that created this two-week industry marathon.

Celebrating its 25th birthday this year, mega show Coterie and its shoe-show-within-a-shoe Sole Commerce featured 1,121 exhibitors in two venues, The Javits Convention Center and Pier 94. Three levels of the former were devoted to International Collections/Bridge and Eveningwear, Contemporary Collections/International Collections/Made in Italy Collections, and Contemporary Collections/Denim. The pier, meanwhile, housed additional Contemporary Collections, Sole Commerce and the Tmrw section, a showcase of up-and-coming designers that has grown from 14 exhibitors last season to 34, including eight from Korea (Nohke J, The Studio K, Sono drs, S=YZ, Jardin de Chouette, Byeunns, J. Apostrophe and JaneHOW).

Although show producer ENK International does not release specific attendance figures, it did say that it expected more than 30,000 attendees. Exhibitors, for the most part, seemed happy with traffic. Chad Kimball, who was showing his knitwear lines Obvious Clothing and Lolly Cashmere in Level 3 of the Javits, said business had been steady during all three days. However, Talisa Lim, who was debuting Eugene, a new sportswear line created by actor Jim Carrey featuring graphic tees of old family photos and printed 1980s-style leggings, said the closeness to the Vegas shows the week before definitely affected her business. “Everybody has been burnt out from MAGIC,” she said. “But I have gotten good international business at this show.”

Another booth that was consistently busy in the denim section was PRPS, which showed an impressive array of “redneck glam” women’s outwear including a Swiss military jacket and a poncho military coat. Reworked military-style, the coats also featured details such as rabbit fur, a removable vest and colorful pops of Navajo weaving.

Highlights at Pier 94 included the relaunch at Sole Commerce of the Brazilian footwear line Morenatom, a line of vintage-inspired boots, booties and oxfords, created via a 50-50 partnership with the brand’s owners in Brazil and US footwear veteran Michael G. Abrams. Featuring distressed calfskin and suede and upholstery fabrics, the shoes will retail for $180 to $330.

The Tmrw section, curated by May Kwok, was a Coterie must-see for visitors seeking the new and directional. Among the many standouts there were Reborn Process, a line in its second season featuring fur-and-flannel capes and coats; Anagram, the new diffusion line from avant-garde designer Gary Graham; the adorable, playful dresses of Dear Creatures; and The Riff, an LA-based line of womens- and menswear featuring a very un-LA dark palette, heavy and chunky knitwear, leather jackets and unusual materials such as waxed merino wool.

Capsule Women’s
Opening one day prior to Coterie, the Capsule Women’s show had a successful three-day run at its home at Center 548 on West 22nd Street in Chelsea, where it showcased its largest assortment yet, more than 140 designers and brands spread across three floors. Exhibitors, including Dan Gosling and Marc Moore of New Zealand-based Stolen Girlfriends Club, praised show producers BPMW for attracting a good assortment of international buyers to the event, including lots of Japanese stores and major players such as Selfridges. On the final days of the show, Gosling showed a thick stack of retailers’ business cards he had collected and declared that buyer interest had been “great” the whole time.

Known for presenting directional, independent designers, Capsule Women’s did not disappoint. While there were far too many fantastic brands and products to mention them all, a few highlights were the peacock-feather prints in the Ivana Helsinki “Velvet Lake” fall 2011 collection (which had been unveiled at New York Fashion Week a mere two days before), the US debut of Blackheart, a new line from Indonesia designed by Maria Agnes featuring trend-right “monkey fur” coats and dark rock-inspired looks, the cutout shoulder merino button-ups by The Box, the 1970s-inspired faux fur patchwork coats from Stolen Girlfriends Club, the elegant colorful printed long dresses by Timo Weiland and Court, a new New York-based denim line that specializes in high-waist looks that retail for $97 per pair.