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WSA Las Vegas Spring 09

“The halls are like bowling alleys, except without the pins,” exclaimed one WSA exhibitor last week, lamenting the shows lack of buoyancy.

As a show specialising in the turbulent footwear category and as a show being hosted by the US, which seems to have played a part in kicking off the credit crisis sweeping much of the developed world, WSA was bound to have it tough this season.

Combined with the added pressure of WSA showing in such close proximity to East Coast footwear show FFANY, which takes place August 6-8, anecdotal evidence suggests that visitor numbers were down against the show’s Spring 08 edition.

Owner of LA retail hotspot Kitson, Fraser Ross told Drapers: “Numbers are down and FFANY is getting business. It’s not so good.”

A drop in visitors was also felt at the show’s last edition in February as a result of a scheduling clash whereby the show ran three weeks later than usual, crossing over with European shows.

One exhibitor showing in The Collections area of WSA said, although he was pleased with the show he was becoming frustrated about the clashes in timeline: “It is like these people don’t talk to each other.” He said.

Although the UK market is also having it tough at the moment, the ever faithful UK contingent made the trip to Sin City. Buyers from Office, Barretts and USC were at the show. However Europeans, especially independents, were thin on the ground.

With most buyers currently trimming back on peripheral brands and opting for the failsafe, big brand till ringers, Skechers and Merrell seemed to take the lion’s share of visitors on their huge stands.

Skechers president Michael Greenberg was optimistic. He said: “What is happening in the UK [market] mirrors that of the USA. But, one thing I know is that the consumer is always going to buy footwear.”

Diane Stone chief operating officer of WSA said that the show is so big (2.1 million sq ft), that huge traffic in aisles was not to be expected. “The show is just not an event where you see huge traffic in aisles,” she said. “The show is enormous, and spread across an extremely large campus. It’s very appointment driven, we also have many brands in a showroom setting and many others have closed booths. So looking and judging the show by its aisle traffic is really misleading. For sure, there may well be a case where some retailers are cutting back on travel costs by sending smaller teams - but that’s only to be expected in such tough times.”

Whether walking WSA’s main show halls or at the hotel suit, off-shoot show The Collections, WSA served up a selection of brands exhibiting on point product.

Davis by Ruthie Davis

The Look

Davis by Ruthie Davis tapped into a pop-art theme and used punchy neon colours on towering PVC ankle wrap sandals and Mary Jane pumps to comprise a confident collection of sassy footwear.

Key Pieces

This three colour checkerboard shoe with nut and bolt detail on the heel was a stand out style and is typical of this brands bold styling.

Colours

Waxy neon and flouresant brights, lime, orange and pink

Prices £116 to £236

Contact

212 334 5802

www.ruthiedavis.com

Faryl Robin

The Look

European styling and made with entirely Italian components, Faryl Robin has fashionable shoes for women with comfort details, which add value. The brand has attracted the eye of Russell and Bromley in the UK for next season.

Key Pieces

Metallic woven and laser cut sandals, bright contrast heels with thick band ankle fastenings and demi-wedges.

Colours

Metallics, orange trims on brightly coloured suede and cement and stone shades.

Prices £88 to £126

Contact

212 219 1211

www.farylrobin.com

Report Signature

The Look

This brand always hits the trend spot and this season it did not fail to raise the bar. Sky high heels in wet suit fabric were novel, while platforms with cork soles injected with flecks of neon took the cork trend to another level.

Key Pieces

High raffia heels were a sophisticated simple classic, while tri-colour courts popped

Colours

Neon, splash prints, vintage denim

Prices

£37 to £55

Contact

646 246 21 83

www.reportsignature.com

Chie Mihara

The Look

This Drapers Award winning brand went against the grain this season buy ignoring the trend for fluro-brights and oversized constructions and instead focused on a neutral palate and elegant lasts.

Key Pieces

T-Bar sandals, Mary Janes and lace-up courts were understated and pleated detail on vamps kept shoes feminine.

Colours

Grey, lilac, brown and gun metal grey

Prices

£81 to £104

Contact

+34 96 69 80 415

www.chiemihara.com

Paco Gil

The Look

Paco Gil served up a highly stylised collection of footwear. There was not much flesh on show, with most styles closed up rather than sandal inspired. The range spanned high, stock-on platforms to kitten heel courts with painterly floral prints.

Key Pieces

Exotic platforms with circular, chunky buckle fastening

Colours

Blue, violets and natural stone shades.

Prices

£47 to £63

Contact

34 965 39 13 40

www.pacogil.com

Chinese Laundry

The Look

This young fashion brand has matured this season and tapped into a range of looks including a boho-inspired story and an urban safari theme comprising canvas and exotic skins.

Key Pieces

Chinese Laundry excelled in moving on the gladiator sandal rather than letting it stand still for another season as others did, by developing a key ethnic inspired, woven flat sandal

Colours

Green, pink, brown and sand

Prices

£12 to £27

310 838 2103

www.chineselaundry.com

80%20

The Look

Among a selection of largely sophisticated and upmarket peers, this fresh and bright brand injected some youth into The Collections.

Key Pieces

Cork wedges on canvas pump uppers and covered wedge sneakers in teal were stand out alongside a laser cut, flora and fauna leather story.

Colours

Yellow, red patent, blue and white

Prices

£10 to £49

Contact

646 290 5434

www.8020nyc.com

L’Autre Chose

The Look

This French brand stayed true to its Gallic roots with an avant garde collection featuring clogs with metal Paris logo badges, heeled moccasins and feminine bows on the vamps of heeled courts

Key pieces

Wedge with deck-chair like woven finish

Colours

Blue, red and white

Prices

£59 to £86

Contact

+ 39 0734 878 011

www.boccaccinni.it

Etro

The Look

A slightly weaker collection against last season, Etro was perhaps less directional and more focused this season. Etro showed a tightly edited range of clear looks, featuring oversized leather stitch detail on edging, Smartie like button detail embellishment on flats and satin ruffles on the front of heels were strong.

Key Pieces

A Royal blue wedge with golf tassel detail

Colours

Purple, green, brown and blue

Prices

£60 to £101

Contact

39 0278 3988

Belle by Sigerson Morrison

The Look

A total departure from previous seasons, Belle by Sigerson Morrison showed a more sober collection for Spring 09. There was no glitz and glamour, instead confident muted tones and natural looking finishes were key.

Key Pieces

Aztec, zig-zag cut away detail with metallic contrast on flat sandals and one level wedges with oversized stitching.

Prices

£113 to £151

Contact

212 625 1641

www.sigersonmorrison.com

           

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