Welcome Watters to COUTURE!

COUTURE is  thrilled to announce that after a 3 year absence Watters is returning to COUTURE to show their Spring /Summer 2014 collections. Twenty six years ago, Vatana Watters started a small design business that quickly grew into an international empire. Watters, Wtoo, Encore, C20, Seahorse all live under this powerhouse brand and reach women in all stages of the wedding market.   Whether you’re looking for an elegant bridal gown, reception dress or fabulous garments for your entire bridal party, Watters offers the latest trends with a fresh, innovative twist. We are so excited to see the new line and welcome them back to the COUTURE family! Retailers will be able to view the full range of Watters lines at their two showrooms in America Halls.

Watters – America Hall II, showroom 219

Wtoo – America Hall I, showroom 117

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DESIGNER DISH: A Sneak Peek at Intuzuri’s New Collection

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COUTURE: What was the inspiration behind your collection and what elements are you most excited to share?
INTUZURI: The 2013 collection is an ode to romance, with the designs capturing a real luxuriousness and opulence. As a London-based brand the designs are very much influenced by an English sensibility, with a combination of traditional and more fashion-forward elements. The embellishments really showcase the passion and quality finishing which has gone into each and every gown, with elements such as hand-beading, three-dimensional flower appliqués, and delicate “eyelash” detailing.

COUTURE: How do you present your collection to the press vs retailer?
INTUZURI: There are of course certain key differences between how the collection is presented to the press and to retailers, but ultimately it’s not that different between the two. It is a case of emphasizing the design quality, couture finishing, and luxuriousness of the dresses, as these are the things which really make an Intuzuri gown stand out.

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COUTURE: Bridal Fashion Week may only last 7 days but proper preparation take weeks and sometimes months! What steps have you taken this market?
INTUZURI: As well as the huge amount of organization which goes into the event beforehand, it’s also a case of making ongoing marketing efforts to create a buzz about the collection amongst brides and retailers.

COUTURE: What are the three main goals you want to accomplish every market and are there any specific goals you introduced this season?
INTUZURI: (1) Maintaining the same sense of excitement about the dresses as when the first collection came out (2) Catching up with our retailers, finding out which designs have sold well, and seeing which trends are popular in different areas (3) Forging new and mutually rewarding relationships with retailers

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COUTURE: There are many bridal markets to choose from across the globe. What brings you to New York Bridal Fashion Week and more specifically?
INTUZURI: With the size and influence of the United States’ wedding industry, and the fact that New York is really the fashion epicenter of the world, it’s an easy choice for us to be here. And of course, the location is hard to beat!

Welcome Coordinates by LUKA to COUTURE

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We are thrilled to introduce Coordinates by LUKA to COUTURE! The most beautiful and treasured jewels often possess the most meaning . This collection of customized jewelry is engraved with the geographic coordinates of meaningful locations in your life such as a destination wedding or honeymoon! The journey towards a marriage is also filled with touching and unique moments (i.e your first kiss or first meeting) so why not memorialize those places as well! This is a pre-launch to their collections so stop by to get an inside peek into what is sure to be the next big thing in bridal accessories and gifting!

Welcome Cocoe Voci to COUTURE

Cocoe Voci  is  another fabulous designer  brought to us by our friends at Group 868. Voci  is a west coast designer  with a delicate, feminine aesthetic and fabulous attention to detail.  In her early 2o’s, fresh out of design school, Cocoa began her career as a retailer and eventually gained the following of many local brides. It wasn’t long until her success reached the Hollywood Hills, dressing A-list actress and even having her garments featured in a variety well known films and television programs. In early 2012 Voci launched a “Reprise Debut” of her bridal collection and continues to be a rising star in the industry. What will she have in store for us next?

DESIGNER DISH: Interview with Valentini Spose

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COUTURE: What was the inspiration behind your collection?
VALENTINI SPOSE: When designing the collection I had a very specific bride in mind. She is a young and modern woman who values unique and strikingly different details. At glance she appears to be an ingénue but she secretly holds the ability to seduce with a single look. Nothing short of perfection will satisfy her tastes.

COUTURE: How do you present your collection to the press vs. retailer?
VALENTINI SPOSE: The press is looking for “buzz” while retailers want what’s sellable.  Our brand tries to satisfy both needs by offering two beautifully unique collections. Valentini Spose focuses on classic elegance while EGO appeals to the youthful and trendy.  Combined the two collections are a representation of today’s modern bride.  We strive to showcase the latest trends while emphasizing beauty and femininity that can be appreciated by both parties.

COUTURE: What trends are you currently loving and how did you incorporate them into your Fall 2013 line?
VALENTINI SPOSE: Glamour never goes out of style! Elegant Lace and dazzling crystals are the core materials we are using for embellishment.  We want our brides to sparkle and feel radiantly beautiful on her special day.

COUTURE: Bridal Fashion Week may only last 7 days but proper preparation takes weeks and sometimes months! What steps have you taken this market?
VALENTINI SPOSE: Our brand is a constant love of labor ranging from original design concepts to global marketing efforts.  This is the first collection we are previewing at New York Bridal Fashion Week and we want everything to be perfect! It has been a very exciting achievement for us. We aim to tell a cohesive story that provides innovation through exciting details and designs.

COUTURE: What are the three main goals you want to accomplish this market?
VALENTINI SPOSE: (1) To satisfy our clients and create relationships with the US retailers (2) To better familiarize our brand with the American bride (3) To become an international brand and main player in the US market.

COUTURE: There are many bridal markets to choose from across the globe. What brings you to New York Bridal Fashion Week and more specifically COUTURE?
VALENTINI SPOSE:  Where else would we display our haute couture fashions? The name says it all! New York is a worldwide fashion capital with an electrifying energy that inspires creativity. We are looking forwarded to meeting with the retailers to show off our fashion forward Italian designs!

COUTURE CHAT with Danielle Bobish: Founder/Creative Director of CUE & Mastermind Behind COUTURE’s Design

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Left: Danielle Bobish  Right: Moodboard for COUTURE Fall 2013

Curtain Up Events is the brainchild of Danielle Bobish, who discovered that her professional theater background was the perfect training ground for planning large affairs. Since its launch in 2005, Danielle has achieved numerous awards and editorial praise, including the 2011 and 2012 picks for The Knot Best of Weddings Award! This is Danielle’s third season with COUTURE  and we got a chance to get a sneak peek into what she has in store!

COUTURE: Tell us about the “look of the show” and the inspiration behind your vision?
DANIELLE: The Knot Spring 2013 fashion story “The English Effect” (page 292) was a major inspiration. I loved the contrast of the feminine and ethereal fashions against the organic backdrop of the English countryside. The flooring we are having installed has a direct correlation to the wooden elements in the spread and the white fabrics we are draping represent the gorgeous gowns.  These concepts then lead me to the idea of a wall of hedges in the Gallery of Gowns.  From the entrance on we to take our attendees “down the rabbit hole,” a la Alice and Wonderland, and into a world where every turn has another surprise!

COUTURE: This is your third show at COUTURE! How have you seen the show evolve aesthetically over time?
DANIELLE: The physical space has significantly grown from when I joined the team at the Intercontinental. Consequently, my role expanded as well!  In the past I was only in charge of the entrance and registration area but now my vision will be carried throughout the entire space.

"The English Effect" in The Knot Spring 2013 Issue photo by Thayer Gowdy

“The English Effect” in The Knot Spring 2013 Issue
photo by Thayer Gowdy

COUTURE:  Last year was our first time at the Hilton New York. What learning experiences did you take away from October and how did you approve them in April?
DANIELLE: Last market we were working with a new team and learning new venue regulations. Now that we have familiarity with the space, it makes the creative process much easier. I now know my overall limitations and I have had significant time to figure out how to overcome these obstacles. I don’t want to give too much away but I will say that I’m very excited to make the big reveal!

COUTURE:  We service many audiences (i.e. retailers, designers, press)!  Do you keep these audiences in mind when developing a design concept? Which aspect appeal to each?
DANIELLE: Audience is extremely important when conceptualizing any event.  At COUTURE we are dealing with many different industry professionals that all have unique goals. Retailers are running around the city 24/7 so I wanted to provide opportunities for them to reflect and explore the space. Designers on the other hand by are much more visual by nature so my main focus for them was aesthetics. I wanted to give them a clean pallet that had visual impact without being distracting to their designs. Press attendees are basically looking for the best of both worlds. As much as they love decorative elements, they need space to photograph the gowns without too much visual distraction.

COUTURE: This is a high traffic event that requires both functionality and design. How did you marry the two? What were the biggest challenges?
DANIELLE: This is always a challenge, especially at an event of this stature. Everyone is clearly impressed by a visually stimulating space but if you don’t offer the proper comfort and necessities you will lose their support.  Each market is a learning curve but I have a strong feeling that we mastered it this April.  In addition to the fabulous décor we are offering more seating and services for attendees to enjoy. We are also more aware of the space and figured out how to maximize its functionality in a more strategic manner.

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“The English Effect” in The Knot Spring 2013 Issue
photo by Thayer Gowdy

COUTURE:  Design is important for every event but it can also get expensive. What aspects do you feel are important to splurge on and where are the best opportunities to save?
DANIELLE: I always tell my clients that lighting is a large investment but certainly worth the cost. Through the magic of lighting you can create fabulous colors and textures that will fill the entire room and transform the setting. Fine details are important for enhancement but it’s better to spread these items out and use them sparingly if you are looking to remain within a tight budget.

COUTURE:  What is your favorite part of COUTURE and what brings you back each year?
DANIELLE: The opportunity to work with The Knot team is always a pleasure. Being in the wedding industry myself, it’s beneficial to take advantage of the extensive partnerships they have formed through their multimedia platform. They have access to a huge network of retailers, services, designers, press and of course brides! The COUTURE team specifically is always 110% committed to the event and I look forward to reconnecting with them each market!

Welcome Valentini Spose to COUTURE

We are fortunate enough to welcome Valentini Spose to April Market. With avant-garde designs and a high-fashion aesthetic, Valentini Spose will be sure to add a unique edge to the COUTURE showroom floor! Ironically the European label recently produced a photo shoot here in NYC prior to New York Bridal Fashion Week! Click above to get a backstage look on how the fabulous Italian designs perfectly popped against the iconic backdrop of New York City!

Welcome Madeleine Fig to COUTURE

Jannina Figueroa is the creative force behind Madeleine Fig and a new face at COUTURE! Since her 2013 launch at the International Trade Show Intermoda, Figueroa has encountered a frenzy of international press coverage ranging from Paris to Peru!  With all gowns made domestically and a headquarters in Los Angeles, Madeleine Fig is ready to take on New York Bridal Fashion Week! In an industry that is constantly evolving and seeking innovation, we have always made it our mission to discover new talent . We’re so excited to see what fresh take this hot new designer has in store for the traditional gown!

Welcome Intuzuri to COUTURE

intuzPlease welcome UK bridal brand Intuzari to COUTURE!  Since launching in September of 2011, the fresh collection as taken the global market by storm with clients in the US, Japan, France and beyond!  With two beautifully diverse collections, the glamorous Intuzuri Costura and the more contemporary Luvanity collection, their bride is one that that values both tradition and innovation. With a “young and multinational” team behind the scenes, it is no surprise that Intuzari has obtained a strong following in a short period of time.  We are ecstatic that they have decided to join COUTURE!

COUTURE CHAT with Cristina DeMarco: Vice President of Bridal Reflections

BR1In honor of Bridal Reflections’ 40th Anniversary, COUTURE sat down with Vice President, Cristina DeMarco, in order to pick her brain about New York Bridal Fashion Week! With three fabulous salons and an outstanding assortment of American and international designers, it is no surprise that they are dubbed “New York’s premiere bridal salon!”

COUTURE: Congratulations on your 40 year anniversary! With four decades of success under your belt, what is the most significant change to the industry since you entered the market?
DeMarco: Hands down the internet! I would say 90% of our brides do their primary research online. Our homepage is the first impression we have on them and it is so important that it is an accurate depiction of our business! The web has also changed the scope of our competition. Local stores are not the only competitors anymore. Brides now have easy access to retailers and designers worldwide.

COUTURE: How closely do you follow the trends and how do they affect your assortment and is there a certain trend that sticks out as defying a decade?
DeMarco: Clearly we alter our collection based on current trends but we also try to consistently have timeless styles. Many designers today are producing trends that are removable such as detachable peplum, one shoulder straps, skirts, and overlays. This way the bride can have the best of both worlds when it comes to tradition vs. fashion! As far as trends over the years, Leg o’mutton sleeves certainly define an era for me. In the 80’s EVERY gown had dramatic sleeves which eventually lead to a backlash of more simplistic silhouettes. So funny how styles change so drastically over time!

COUTURE: As you stated earlier, the internet has clearly made an impact on the business. What other significant changes in the media landscape do you believe affected the industry?
DeMarco: Reality TV has had a huge influence on the bridal business. With popular shows like Randy to the Rescue and My Fair Wedding, many brides are watching these programs as a form of research. These brides are getting free consultations from industry professionals in the comfort of their own home! As a retailer it is important to know what messages these shows are putting out there and make sure we offer the trends they are promoting.

COUTURE: Do you think the introduction of these modern influences have affected bridal magazines?
DeMarco: Bridal magazines will always be around! Nothing compares to physically flipping through a magazine full of glossy, beautiful, high-quality images. That being said the thickness of the magazines has certainly declined due to the advertisers exploring digital opportunities. There is no longer just one medium and as a retailer we need to be aware of these other platforms in order to reach our customer.

COUTURE: You currently have three successful locations. Do you take each demographic into account when formulating a buy? Does each store have a separate buyer/budget?
DeMarco: We currently have one team of buyers for all three locations however we divide our budget accordingly for each store. When purchasing new collections we certainly take into consideration which location will be the most successful with each style. Allocation of goods is also extremely important! Transferring designs between stores to fulfill demands is often necessary.

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COUTURE: When you prepare for each market, what are the top three goals you are trying to achieve?
DeMarco: (1) Stay within budget! (2) Seek out innovative fashions (3) Remain consistent with product (ie quality, price points and taste level)

COUTURE: What advice can you give to first time retailers at market?
DeMarco:
Define who you are before going to market. Who is your bride and what she is looking for? Is she coming to you for fashion forward designs or a reasonable price point? Or both? Find your niche in the market and stay true to your brand identity

COUTURE: What advice can you give new designers showing at market? What is the best way for them to catch your attention?
DeMarco: We are looking for innovation! We currently carry many designers that have a unique aesthetic. If we decide to bring in a new collection it should fill a stylistic void that’s in the current assortment, not replicate existing designs.

COUTURE: How open should designers be to design edits? How often do you request them and why?
DeMarco: We encourage designers to stay true to their designs. We rarely ask them to customize unless there is a specific detail we know will not resonate with our demographics. That being said, a designer should always be flexible when it comes to the demands of our customer. Brides want a dress that is unique and desire the opportunity to tweak the style to make it her own. The designers we partner with are open to such requests.

COUTURE: Bridal Market is just the beginning! What follow up steps from the designer are necessary to insure a smooth transaction?
DeMarco: Most importantly the designer needs to be responsible with their delivery times! They should be prepared to let us know when we can physically have the sample in our stores and what the lead time is for our bride. They should also be able to tell us the color and size variations that are available over time. It is essential that they follow through on all the promises they presented at market!

COUTURE: How do you see the bridal retail business evolving in the next 10-20 years and how are you preparing?
DeMarco: I think the industry is going through a clean house phase. Many people jumped on the bridal bandwagon thinking it is recession proof however it takes a strong business skill to stay afloat. In order to remain successful, owners need to remain hands on, invest in a professional staff and most importantly service the client!