Inside the World's Biggest Fashion Trade Show - Or, Cool Things We Saw in Las Vegas Last Week

At BCBGeneration, they made us custom bracelets that said "Style" and "Bistro"—woohoo!

By 10 a.m. on February 19th, after picking up my registration badge and before even setting foot inside the convention hall, I'd already spotted the following: a woman with no shoes on, a girl with no pants on, a man with a series of curvy spikes implanted in his scalp, about 10,000 mohawks, and a handful of naked "models" (brand ambassadors?) wandering around the lobby wearing only body paint.

Welcome to Magic and Project in Las Vegas—the world's biggest biannual fashion trade show and a spectacular international crossroads of every conceivable facet of the rag trade industry. Sort of like fashion week without the shows, Magic and Project are where brands, buyers, press, and marketers convene twice a year to pick up orders, stock their selling floors, see and feel goods for the upcoming season, network, and schmoozle.

For StyleBistro, Magic/Project is a great chance for us to see as many brands' new offerings as possible in one (now, two, really—Mandalay Bay Convention Center and the Las Vegas Convention Center) convenient location in two whirlwind days of back-to-back appointments. Ever want to peer inside the world's largest fashion trade show? Check out some of the cool stuff we saw at Magic and Project—all coming to a retailer near you in fall 2013.

Welcome to Project, held this year at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center:

Here's my press badge. Ever think you're too cool to wear a badge on a lanyard around your neck for two days? Not me. Shameless.

In addition to the main exhibition space, the Project folks built a tent out back to house mostly men's brands. We loved The Tents—it had a totally different vibe from the main hall. It was much airier, brighter, and more laid-back. But, then again, the menswear scene generally is.

There was also FN Platform, a dedicated shoe exhibition space over at the LVCC. Seriously, I cannot overemphasize how enormous this room is. And it's chock full of shoes. Dream!

Cool thing we saw: New Balance's newest sneaks—including this limited-edition 574 for women with the cute laces and the... (scroll down)

... Anchor print on the inside! The cutest.

Cool thing we saw: Here at StyleBistro we're huge fans of Levi's Made & Crafted, a division of the behemoth jeans-and-sportswear brand that creates vintage-inspired, super-comfy pieces that we fall in love with and want to live in season after season. This fall, we're coveting these spotted Levi's Made & Crafted jeans:

We're also obsessed with this stroke of brilliance. Who doesn't hate tags poking them in the neck all day long? Check out what it says on the white tag to the right of the label: "Please tear here." It comes off, easy peasy.

We also stopped by the Red Wing booth to check out the brand's offerings for women. Of course, we drooled over the boots (not literally, you know, drooled).

Which of these colors do you like best? I'm partial to the one in the middle.

And the tall Red Wing "Engineer" boots for fall are to die for.

In the afternoon we popped by the Reebok booth to see a famous very-tall person... can you guess who? Scroll down for the answer.

It's Shaq! You can read more about what Shaq was doing hanging out at Magic/Project right here.

And I couldn't walk by without taking 100 photos of the Affliction booth. You know how we feel about Affliction—really, it's an odd mix of fascination and revulsion all at once.

We couldn't bring ourselves to go inside. It was like a polar force that kept us from getting too close. But here's a snapshot of what was going on outside the Affliction booth:

And the brand ambassadors—who I think were wearing customized Affliction shirts. Customized, I said!

Late in the afternoon we popped by FN Platform, the shoe part of the trade show, and visited our good friends at Steve Madden—who have a massive fall collection full of amazing shoes! We're so excited for the entire line to hit stores later this year, but here are our top two picks from the Steve Madden main line—this studded chunky-heel sandal:
And this mirror-finish gold geometric wedge:

I also loved how the Steven by Steve Madden collection took a lot of cues from the 1980s—like this sexy pewter pump:

And this version, with the sculptural heel and elastic details:

Next door to Steve Madden, we bumped into Betsey Johnson's accessories and shoes—which we love, always, unconditionally. Betsey is a die-hard New Yorker, and it really shows in her fall 2013 collection. Like, check out these taxi cab handbags and clutches:

The detailing on Betsey Johnson's accessories is also adorable. These heart-shaped studs on her handbags are so pretty in person:

Betsey Johnson will also be launching Blue, a bridal shoe collection, this year. She'll be offering everything from more traditional bridal footwear:

To 1980s-inspired glamazon bridal shoes, like these:

Speaking of shoes and accessories, we loved BCBGeneration's boots:

And cute tasseled flats—hello! We want one in every color.

BCBGeneration's accessories—especially their fall handbags—are so pretty and understated. Like this flat tote inscribed "Pardon My French" in a delicate script. The brand will also be launching a super-cute intimates line this fall, so watch out for that!

Of course, we couldn't leave Karl Lagerfeld's new watches off the list—you can read more about their launch, right here.

We love how the logo has a little Karl-head in it. Can you see?

At K-Swiss, we squee-ed over the little versions of the big shoes (for mommy-and-me, obv):

And, for fall, we can't wait for these super-lightweight versions of K-Swiss' classic tennis shoe:

Next door, we checked out Palladium's super-cool new Monochrome Collection. Want. All.

The second incarnation of Palladium's collaboration with Billionaire Boys Club:

And the brand's cool new prints:

To cap off our whirlwind shoe sightseeing, we stopped by to see the new Nanette Lepore collection, which we loved for its juxtaposition of fun-and-wild and totally-grown-up—just like the Nanette Lepore runway collection. There were boot doppelgangers:

Pump doppelgangers:

And cowgirl mule doppelgangers:

(Photos: Danica Lo / StyleBistro)
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