Although slightly smaller in size compared to their fall editions, both the Coterie and the Capsule shows in New York City were buzzing with buyers and press.
Coterie has been decidedly pushing into the digital age by introducing The Coterie Experience, a space where curated merchandising and brand storytelling meet through technology. An immersive experience divided in several environments that can be explored with the help of a tablet, the Coterie Experience is aimed is at educating and inspiring vendors, retailers, and guests.
Danielle Licata, VP of Coterie and initiator of this interactive project, summed it up for SI "It is our mission to provide not only a marketplace for vendors and retailers but also to educate and inspire. 'The Coterie Experience' concept was created to challenge the traditional retail model and ignite inspiration for buyers and retailers alike. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
Buyers who walked the pressure-free ‘pop-up’ shop left with a myriad of designers they had maybe never previously considered for their stores. Retailers from across the country began thinking differently about merchandising and traditional windows displays and how they could incorporate the various inexpensive technologies into their stores to elevate the experience for consumers."
In the real world beyond the digital experience, the most notable trends on the show floor were the 3/4 wide sleeve silhouette for outerwear puffy coats, colored fur lining on winter coats, lavish embellishments on traditional sportswear garments, especially bomber jackets, and, for the more pop-oriented customers, some emojis apparel.
Traffic was intense around all big names denim brands (AG, Frame, Mother and Mavi . High waist silhouette and distressed denim still rule, but the market is also moving towards more refined finishes and rich decorations.
The metallic print by Mavi and their expanded holidays line of black denim tuxedo pants with gold lurex inserts are an excellent example in this direction. Also the heavily studded flared high waist jeans by Alice + Olivia fall into this trend. The brand FW17 collection designed by Stacey Bendet is inspired by Indian traditional motifs and reinterprets them with the its usual pop, tongue-in-cheek spirit, thus creating the unique mix of gypsetter elegance, very much loved by millennials.
Another brand that stood out at Coterie for its original and consistent line of stylish casual wear was The Kooples. Their collection inspired by music stars of the 60s and 70s brings together seamlessly some of the season's main trends such as Victorian crushed velvet and romantic floral prints, old-fashioned military uniforms and leather biker jackets.
In the athleisure segment the trends spanned form Hard Tail 's interesting mix of high tech and natural exemplified by its laser cut tie-dye tops in muted colors, to the color blocking in high performance sheer fabric by BoomBoom Athletica at the Edit show, through the semi-transparent top with bold orange prints and terry top with raw hems by Vimmia.
The Capsule show maintained its location near the river Hudson but moved south to the Clarkson Skylight Studios by the hip West Village neighborhood. The show was divided on two floors, accessories on the first floor and apparel on the second, which made it seem cozier and less daunting compared to Pier 94, without compromising the visibility of the booths and the flow of foot traffic.
Among the top news of the show was the launch of Blauer casual line in the US. Born in 2001 from a licensing agreement with between the US major manufacturer of police uniforms and the Italian FGF group, the brand has transformed some of the original garments used by the armed forces into original iconic pieces that have conquered the European market. For this special "homecoming" Blauer featured a mix of its classic jackets and trendy pieces like the camouflage wool coat.
Another American iconic sportswear brand also debuted into casualwear at Capsule: New Balance introduced a line featuring American classics with a unique twist like the long bomber coat.
While LA based brand Etienne Marcel, renowned for its soft, fitting overalls and signature red zipper, chose the Capsule show to introduce its first menswear line.
In the denim segment one of the upcoming trends seen at the NY trade shows are the raw edges. No longer limited to the lower hem fringes are everywhere from the deconstructed pants and jackets by Japanese brand Red Card to the ruffled tops by Elizabeth Faulkner.
Another variation of the same trend is the pulled thread denim, which Taiwanese emerging designer Ceci featured prominently in her debut collection for the US market.
In the activewear market the most conspicuous trends were the bold elastic band, metallic fabric details and laser cut fabric decorations.
Finally, among the most original exhibitors in footwear two in particular stood out: the bespoke bicolor sneakers by They New York and the colorful sustainable line of comfort shoes Nature, the new venture by Danish designer Eik Braun-Ottosen, of Rubberduck fame.