New York State of Mind

The Man Repeller, a celebrity blogger spotted in New York City

If you follow fashion, you’ve heard of New York’s Fashion Week. It has star-studded, fabulous runway shows, celebrities who want to see and be seen, and it’s great for a retail buyer who has an extra week on her hands.

But Fashion Week is not for buyers who need to select fashions for their stores. Half of the fantastical designs on the runway are never produced. They are too unrealistic and unwearable.

Instead, those pieces set the tone for the designer’s collection. After the runway show, designers adapt and pare down their collections to saleable items.

Those of us who work for a living descend on New York the week after Fashion Week. We go to see new spring collections – for real, not for show – and attend the Fashion Coterie, a trade show with more than 1,600 different designers and lines.

New York is always its most chaotic during our September trip. The United Nations is in session, and takes all the hotel rooms. And President Obama apparently wants to be in New York at the same time I am each September. His Sept. 18 visit blocked streets and snarkled traffic.

To escape this chaos, we stay at a great hotel by the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, which is serene compared to the rest of the city. The area exudes dignity and a respect for life, a welcome change at the end of each day.

What is the Fashion Coterie? The dictionary says a coterie is a small group with shared interests or tastes, and is exclusive of other people.

Indeed, the fashion industry thrives on exclusivity. Many designers and lines scrutinize a store before they give the merchant permission to carry their precious products. They want to see photos of your store. They want to know if you carry the correct blend of other designers.

The Coterie, which began as a small show at the Plaza Hotel, is now held in New York’s massive Jacob Javits Convention Center and features designers and buyers from around the world – Barcelona, Miami, Milan, Munich and Istanbul.

Some people might think we fashion buyers spend our time in New York’s fashion district, around Seventh Avenue from 34th to 42nd streets. In the past, a designer had a showroom in front and manufacturing and shipping in the back. Showrooms still occupy the Fashion District, but they’re just a part of the fashion industry. Cool designers wants to be in the Meat Packing District, SoHo or in a modern mid-town high rise, the funkier the better. Rundown buildings are popular.

We just got back from the Coterie Show and I’m processing what we saw. I did notice a few interesting trends for spring:

• Stores were capitalizing on fall’s successful trends, adding to selections of cowl neck tops and dresses, Missoni-esque zigzags and contemporary tops that appeal to a broad audience.

• Spring fashions will continue to be colorful, but the color palette is softening. Mint will be huge, neons are the counter balance.

• Patterned everything is in. Now solid color jeans and bottoms are in, the trend is moving to print bottoms – floral, graphics, mixed up collages and optical illusions.

• Peplums are emerging as a popular silhouette in dresses and tops.

• “Made in USA” labels are showing more in garments and are becoming more sought-after.

Celebrity sightings are popular at the Coterie. Tres Mariposas’ contemporary buyer Gesuina Legaspy was beside herself when she sighted The Man Repeller.

In case you’re not up on blogging celebrities, The Man Repeller is a successful and quirky blog by Leandra Medine about trends that women love and men hate. It has a huge following and is a celebrity for fashionistas.

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