Orpheum Theatre - Cal Mart Center Direction Fall '04 Runway Show

Packed House at the CMC's Direction '04 Runway Show Apr 2 LA Shoe Show Expands In Response to Retailer Demand Buyers Flock to Brighte Companies and Streetwear Sensation Agenda

 Parking lots were full and showrooms reported brisk business with retailers arriving earlier in the week than usual for the Fall '04

market (April 1- 6) held at the California Market Center, the West Coast hub of fashion, gift and home. The CMC kicked off the market with a chic new look in the Main Lobby Atrium that included colorful banners, new, communal furnishings, floating canopy arches welcoming visitors to the main entrance, a hip soundtrack of current hits, and, most importantly, a dramatic

rise in retail attendance figures.

In fact, according to Cecil Strickland, executive director of retail relations, attendance for the first three and a half days of the market exceeded the numbers for last year's 7-day market. Strickland also noted that 32 percent of registered retailers for this market are first-time attendees.

Stores in attendance included Atrium, Bjorn Stova, Cache,

CMJ, Lord & Taylor, Nordstrom, Roxy, Wendy Foster, Bang Bang. Bergdorf Goodman, Fawbush's, Hoopla, K. Titus, Kirk & Hill, Gymboree, Anthropologie, Bon-Macy's and May Co.

 "We heard repeatedly from our exhibitors that this April show exceeded high expectations in terms of the buyer traffic and a

positive feeling of recovery and renewal in the marketplace," said Paul Lentz, general manager of the CMC. "We are providing a winning combination by having a wealth of resources for fashion, gift and home on our permanent floors, along with innovative shows like Brighte and Agenda that bring additional shopping opportunities to our valued retailers."

The health of the market was reflected in packed showrooms, particularly on day one, April 1, when buyers visibly crowded several floors of the 3-million-square-foot Market Center. This was a strong market for Floor 5, which promoted its showrooms with a lunch catered by Pane e Vino, happy hour wine bars, and a win-a-trip give-away to Mexico. "By Saturday - three days in, we had exceeded the sales we did for the entire market last year," said Bryan Wilson, who co-owns the Bryan Wilson/Sue Goodman showroom on Floor 5. "People came

early and wrote orders - at some point we didn't have enough chairs in the room for our customers. It really was one of the best markets we've ever had." Judy Kurgan of Judy Kurgan Sales also noted a mark ed spike in sales. "I love my new location on the B-side of Floor 5 and I think I had the best market I've had in six years, " said Kurgan, who carries contemporary labels. "I think there was an energy on the floors that shows how much things have turned around."

Highlights of the visiting exhibitor shows included a cocktail party and press event for Urban Suburban on Floor 4C (April 1-3), as well as a significant expansion of the LA Shoe Show on Floor 13B (April 4 & 5), and steady traffic to the Agenda show and new permanent showrooms on Floor 11B (April 1-3). New resources were welcomed to the Salon Pavilion in Suite B1086 for Accessories and Intimate Apparel Salon. ENK's Brighte Companies drew traffic to the "underground" Exhibit Hall with more than 160 top fashion and accessories exhibitors, April 1-4.

On April 2, the CMC's Retail Relations department party hosted a V.I.P. cocktail reception in the Buyer's Club, Suite B-271, which drew top names in the industry including Dungarees, Fire N' Ice, Hoopla, MGM, Roxy, Scruples, Hitchin' Post, JMR, Tom Teifer, and May Corp.

Immediately following the reception, one thousand retailers and guests, and more than 30 media outlets packed the historic Orpheum Theatre on April 2 for the CMC's Direction Fall '04 Runway Show. Sponsored by Moss Adams, Cloutier and Sebastian, the fast-paced event provided a multi-segment overview of the key trends for Fall 2004 trends. Among the recognized names in California fashion gracing the catwalk were

Corey Lynn Calter, Sue Wong, Charlotte Tarantola, Poleci, Raw 7, Joey +T, Harveys, Blue Cult, Cynthia Steffe and Saja and Frankie B.

 Just prior to the runway show, Daniella Clarke, designer and owner of Frankie B., was honored with the industry's prestigious Moss Adams Fashion Innovator Award (MAFI) at the Orpheum event.

"The stores are so excited to find so much new product here," said Renee Cohen, owner of the eponymous showroom. "I think Brighte added a lot to the mix and Floor 5 really banded together with promotions and ways to make an outstanding experience for our customers. Our buyers placed orders and left happy."  

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