Back in January, I went to the Moda Manhattan/Fame/Accessories The Show grouping at the Javits Center in New York. The organizer is Business Journals Inc (BJI), a business media company that produces 5 business-to-business magazines, 8 trade shows, and a number of seminars and web sites. They have always been gracious to the press, and I find these shows lively and full of interesting individuals selling everything from evening gowns, to key chains.
Moda Manhattan and Fame offer fashions and accessories, but the Accessories Show is the only juried, all-accessories trade event in the entire USA. The trio of market exhibits are focused on buyers (more than 8000) so almost everything there is wholesale only. When I arrived on Tuesday (the last afternoon for the show), it was still packed with enthusiastic buyers from speciality stores and boutiques, department stores, catalogues, and even duty free shops looking to see what’s available for the next season in activewear, special occasion/evening, outerwear/coats, suits/ careerwear, dresses, knitwear/sweaters, sportswear, related separates, soft separates, loungewear/sleepwear, fur/leather, and accessories from belts to bags to hats to tons and tons and tons of jewelry in all price points.
As usual, I got there late, and a bit breathless (I walked cross-town because it was such a nice day). I made a quick stop in the press lounge, and discovered that there were a lot of press materials I would have liked to pick up, but for some reason, the complimentary tote bags (or any type of carry bags) are never offered to the press. Of all the people who really need a tote, you’d think the press would be top of the list? In any case, my purse felt like it weighed about 500 gazillion pounds after toting it around for a couple of hours.
But all gripes aside, as I said in my last post in January, if you can’t spot trends here, you’re not looking very hard.
So what trends did I see for Fall? As far as the eye could see, the usual earth tones, black, grey and deep greens were in full force, but the mood was somber. They say fashion mirrors the mood of the country, so maybe the war and other troubles at home are influencing designers. There seemed to be lots of soft and drape-y fashions, many in cashmere, velvet, and other luxury fabrics. Styles seemed less structured, softer, a bit more forgiving (that doesn’t mean you should chow down on cheeseburgers, but at least you won’t need to be model-thin to wear anything trendy). In accessories, wide belts, “ethnic” jewelry, lots of hats (many soft cloches or berets), embellished handbags (with everything from stones to feathers), lots of prints, and lots of embroidery and beading seem to be “in.”
Every season, simply by walking around the large exhbit floors, I find a few vendors with something special –something I know my Advice Sisters readers will want to know about. I’ll be featuring some of this season’s vendors in my monthly “What Works” Beauty, Cosmetics & Fashion review columns, and in my Enews and here on this blog.
I was tired and ready to leave, when I spied a wall of handbags, and had to stop. They were trendy and attractive–and when Anna Maria Blescia and her partner, Gail Mackler-Carlino of Frenz…eee told me that their bags were not leather, but a line of “animal friendly” (in other words, man made materials, not from animals) handbags, I was hooked. Their designs stand out from the rest of the pack (and believe me, at these shows you get to see a LOT of handbags). What also impressed me about the Frenz…eee line are the trendy designs and the fact that while many of the handbags are crafted from synthetics (some are fabric), these faux materials have the look and feel of buttery soft leather. Even better, they’re lightweight, easy care and, of course, no animals were used to create them.
I took home a Classic Satchel in ivory….I’m in love with it! I could have taken home half a dozen styles! Oh, and another HUGE plus: the prices are reasonable! I’m not going to tell you ALL about Frenz…eeeright now–you’ll have to visit my July/August “What Works” column (first week in July–June is up first week in June) to get the entire story about Anna and Gail, and their awesome assortment of items). These bags offer value, but still, the quality is high. They have all the bells and whistles that more luxury brands offer, down to a dust bag and a signature keychain (two swinging purses) included with every bag. If you can’t wait for my column, visit www.frenzeee.com for information!
Also interesting was ArtofCloth, a collection of art-inspired casual clothing made from handmade textiles. The tunics and shawls were not only interesting to look at, but cover a variety of “evils” if your body is less than perfect. I also liked the rhinestone-festooned leather handbags from Ximena Ramirez These are a bit pricey and definitely not for the shy, but if you like the sparkle, the rhinestone-laden bags are perfect day-to-evening choices!