Saturday, February 09, 2008

Cheap Thrills

I woke up this morning excited to get ready for my first ever New York fashion trade show! Unsure of what to wear, I wore my “uniform” – grey cotton shirtdress, black cashmere cardigan, black tights, brown Burberry belt, brown Lanvin boots, and a black babydoll coat. Total blend-o-rama!

I kissed Dear Hubby who decided to stay home, and headed out the door for my fashion adventure!

I took the E train to West 23rd Street and walked a couple of blocks to get to Starrett Lehigh Center on West 26th Street, one of two locations where the D&A (Designers & Agents) trade shows were situated.

The area where the Center was located looked like an industrial zone filled with warehouses - converted warehouses to my relief; which housed art galleries! It was easy to get distracted with all the artwork on display behind the big glass windows. If only I could stop at each and every gallery! I even passed by Danziger Projects, where The Sartorialist has an exhibit of his photos! “Must come back here…” I made a mental note to myself.

I knew I was near the venue when I saw Japanese girls crossing the street, brownish red hair and fringes in their Minnetonka suede boots swaying as they ran, trying to beat the STOP sign. Then a parade of smartly dressed men and women, all in somber grays and blacks came pouring out to the sidewalk. Ooohhh! Good thing I wore my uniform, I fitted right in!

I went straight for the entrance, a bit fearful that somebody might stop me and ask me what business I had there. I’m a New York trade show virgin, and I had to brace myself for the worst! But it was all smooth sailing as I went up the elevator to the13th floor where I was scheduled to meet the showroom owner who invited me to the trade show. I walked up to the receptionists by the entrance, and asked them where I could find her studio. They asked me to sign up, and voila! I got this really cool canvas bag and a booklet to guide me through all the exhibits.

That was nice! I had to keep myself from smiling, and said thanks nonchalantly, pretending I was used to the buying scene. Heehee!

As I entered the studio, I saw that an array of coffee, tea, juice and hor d’oeuvres had been laid out, but nobody seemed to pay attention to the refreshments on hand, except for the tub of Fiji water bottles that is. Instead, I saw buyers busy picking out clothes from the racks, talking to the showroom staff attending to them, and furiously writing down their orders on clipboards. Very Fashion Babylon.

When I finally saw the showroom owner, she greeted me, and without wasting time, rattled off the points I had to relay to my friend. Then she told me to feel free to walk around, as she turned her back to attend to the many buyers trying to catch her attention. It was kind of a big deal! I was like in the midst of the United Nations of the fashion world, where buyers from all over congregated to get the best of Fall 2008. I heard a smattering of Japanese, French, Italian and Spanish all in one room. Too bad I was the only Pinoy there, and I wasn’t even buying for the Philippine market! Because the clothes, bags, shoes, jewelry and cashmere shawls were absolutely gorgeous! The showroom even had accessories from Martine Sitbon! Man, our market is missing out on some pretty good stuff I tell you!

It was especially quite a thrill to see what stuff will be coming out for F/W 2008. Here’s my take: Nothing major thankfully that we all have to revamp our wardrobes! The shapes and silhouettes were pretty much carried over from recent seasons, but there were lots of nice muted colors that we can incorporate into our wardrobes to update our look for that season. I’ll discuss things in detail as the F/W 2008 season draws near!

So anyway, after wandering off to the other studios, and watching frantic buyers trying to get business done in no time, I headed off to the elevator. This was a great trade show, filled with collections not only from up and coming designers, but well known independent labels like Eugenia Kim, VPL, MALOLES, French Sole, IMITATION by Imitation of Christ, etc.

But before meeting Dear Hubby at Rockefeller Center, where we agreed to meet before heading off to dinner with his HLS friends, I went to West 22nd Street. Where the Balenciaga New York boutique is! It was side-by-side art galleries, and a stone’s throw from the Chelsea Art Museum, where it fit right in. Because Balenciaga clothes are works of art, especially this fabulous floral spring beauty I saw on display, ripe for the picking! If you have tons of money that is! Heehee!

I know some people find this garish. But upon closer scrutiny, it will make the staunchest fashion atheist a believer. When I saw it, I just had to go up close and touch it with my bare hands! And stroke it, and run my fingers through the stitching! What makes it hold its shape is the fact that it’s made out of thin foam-y material, with the silk fabric ironed onto it (kind of the same principle as iron-on patches…I guess). I think its genius. If my dad was Joseph Lau (the “Hong Kong real estate titan” whose 24 year old daughter wears French couture as disclosed to W Magazine), I’d buy it, wear it once, and put it in a glass casing in my room and say its artwork.

But because I was born to make my own fortune, I left the Balenciaga boutique empty handed. At least for now, heehee!

But hey, I had a new bag from D&A! All in all, a wonderful way to spend a Saturday!!!

(Photos courtesy of Harvey Dychiao and


prettypower said...

Tin! Well done! Fashion Babylon nga... :D

Anonymous said...

Can I just say that I love your blog? It's my dream to become a Buyer and Merchandiser here in the Phils, but good schools are hard to come by. I hope it happens though sometime soon.

Best Regards,
Vanessa (an avid reader!)

cd_mfo said...

Thanks Ruby!!! ;-)

Thanks Vanessa! I'm happy you enjoyed this post! I'll post everything I can about the business side of fashion! Follow your dreams and I wish you the best of luck! =)

Anonymous said...

isn't it like freezing now in NYC?? i listen to WNYC/NPR the whole day while working so parang feeling new yorker pa rin ako and i heard it was like 12 degrees windchill factor. BRRRRRRRR!! that i don't miss. :p anyway, you look fantastic!!!!!!

OOOOHHHH WGA strike almost over!! we will have GG back just in time for spring! W0oT!


cd_mfo said...

Thanks grace! Super freezing talaga!!! It was "feels like" -16 degrees Celsius yesterday, tonight its -14!!! Today, my friend and I ended up taking the cab around the city! Otherwise, I would walked walked walked around, I'm too cheap to spring for cab fare hehehe!

Wooohhh! I can't wait for the return of GG!!!

Anonymous said...

tin, you're so lucky! :)

Anonymous said...


I wish I was born with a silver spoon! I do hope so. haha

I can only fantasize of being one of Bernard Arnault's kids! haha then I wouldn't have a problem of getting anything from Vuitton to Dior to Pucci to Fendi. It's like saying I own LVMH haha. I wish I was an Arnault aka the richest family in France!!!!!

Or maybe like Lapo Elkann, or the Missonis, or whoever rich, fashionable, and influential. haha

Anyways, what Martine Sitbon do they have there? I heard she designs under the new label called Rue du Mail.

cd_mfo said...

Yes! I am so lucky Pam! Positive thinking, The Secret! Hehehe! =)

Same here gian! Hahaha! Yeah, that would be fab no? The Martine Sitbon that I saw in the showroom were accessories - shoes and bags of the softest leather! Gorgeous! It was going pretty fast too, lots of buyers milling around that section!

Anonymous said...

Hi, nice blog, I just stumbled upon it. I am currently selling some Balenciaga pieces on eBay (including one of the structured floral jackets). I have a 38 and a 40, and I'll be listing several more Balenciaga pieces from 07-09 this weekend. If you want you can view my listings at ,Cheers. -Peter

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