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The fall collections are just arriving into stores, but the rest of the fashion industry has already moved on to spring. While many lines will head to trade shows in New York or next week's Magic and Project shows in Las Vegas to unveil their spring '09 collections, the newish Class Trade Show, now in its second season, offers local buyers and brands a chance to display their goods without traveling too far. More than half the show was menswear from lines such as RVCA, Matte Black, Indigo Farm and Hickey, but Creative Recreation, Modern Amusement, Ted Baker and others had offerings for gals. We toured the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium to see what was brewing for spring 09.
Class was separated into three areas so we began with the largest, which housed Modern Amusement, Creative Recreation, TOMS Shoes, GSUS and a bunch of lines we've never heard of. The first line that caught our eye was Verum. The clean lines and solid colors appealed to our minimalist palate and the folks manning the booth were hysterical. After informing us of an all-you-can-eat crawfish special at IKEA, they told us the line was only two seasons old and can be found at Qio on Pico.
Also new to our radar was the Icelandic label Andersen & Lauth. Making its U.S. debut in spring, we see its Old World tailored charm catching on. A short distance away was Japanese line gene par YUKIO MISHIBA, which is also new to the States. Its look was stark yet what stood out was how pieces deceived the eye. What looked like a cardigan over a shell was actually one piece and details that appeared complex—shirred and braided T-shirts, multiple layers—were really easy to wear.
Next we gaped at the sneakers at Creative Recreation. Come spring, guys will be hitting Barneys to get their hands on the Milano high-tops in white (the black pair isn't bad either). The ladies have more metallics and patent leather to look forward to from Creative Rec, which also doesn't shy away from bright colors.
Also on the footwear front, we spotted the booth that held our favorite Brazilian plastic shoe line Melissa. Vivienne Westwood's collaboration was fun (glitter slingbacks!) and a must-have in our closets. Melissa's spring collection also featured a more pared-down version of the gladiator, which hinted that the trend will have to evolve in order to carry into next year.
Stripes were also prevalent on the show floor as were spring essentials such as linen jackets, tissue-thin knits and bold colors. But we also noticed some lines, namely GSUS and Modern Amusement, incorporated bird prints and patterns into their skirts, polo shirts, jackets and blouses. Will swallows be the new skulls?
After a few laps and some sips of the free organic juice drinks that were carted around, we called it a day, but not before noticing an underwear display screaming "Sexy Bastard" on a table. It was by a line named Buckler and we couldn't help but chuckle. Because really, if you weren't one, it would never catch your eye in the first place.
· Class Trade Show [classtradeshow.com]