On My Way to the VicenzaOro Winter 2013 Fair?

So my original post for today was happy and light, full of wonder about what the Italian jewelry design community would debut this year at the VicenzaOro Winter 2013 fair, Jan. 19–24 in Vicenza, Italy. But all that changed once I got stuck in the Munich airport on Friday morning. Apparently, a dusting of snow on the ground threw the Germans into a tailspin and they canceled my connection to Venice. Now my final destination of Vicenza seems like just a faint possibility, since the 3:40 p.m. flight they bumped me to is already overbooked, and the next available flight is tomorrow morning. Fingers crossed there will be a hotel room available somewhere in town tonight should I not get a seat assignment; a Lufthansa employee bluntly explained that a “very large convention” in Munich had most hotels booked solid. So, to recap: an eight-hour flight of no sleep (I never sleep, though I usually nod off during my connection, but now that’s out); no idea when I’ll be able to hit the show floor, which opens tomorrow; and nothing but time to kill.

Of course, I cannot entirely blame Munich airport officials for this predicament; I wouldn’t be here now if it weren’t for the lure and significance of the Vicenza fair. It kicks off the new year of trade shows and consistently offers a first look at the colors and trends that European designers see worthy of expression, which over the course of the year will find their way into American collections. At last year’s fair, there were a number of Baroque-inspired looks—rich gold curlicues and regal colors, among others—which then surfaced stateside in February during the fall 2012 edition of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, and again in jewelry in the spring trade shows. It’s a pattern I can count on each year: a look, a style, or the beginnings of a trend seen that gains momentum in other places as the year rolls on.

During my Munich airport interlude, I met Fran Morrone from Quality Gold, the company that just purchased Leslie’s, and Maria Aranha from The Shopping Channel in Canada. Both are here to attend the show for similar reasons: trendspotting, looking for new technologies, metals, techniques, and novelties for volume buyers.

“Two years ago, the show was awesome,” says Aranha. “Last year it was disappointing, but I think this year will be good. It seems like the last six to eight months have been getting better.” Both are expecting to see the continued growth of rose gold or rose-colored metals, more colored gemstones, and animal motifs. “They have been strong,” adds Aranha.

I have similar expectations, but hope to be wowed by more. For that to happen, I will be sure to stop in Glamroom in Hall A2, which is typically full of fashion-forward styles in lucite and silver, and Hall B1, which historically has been the exhibition space for top Italian brands like Roberto Coin. It still is, but, in recent years, some Brazilian designers have moved into spaces vacated by natives including Autore (its head designer is Italian) and Pianegonda (which is based in the city and encourages guests to visit its headquarters). I expect to see Brumani again (last year was owner Eduardo Bruner’s first time exhibiting in that hall), and this year, Carla Amorim joins the mix. I look forward to seeing all of these names—and hopefully new ones—when I finally arrive. But when will that happen?

Pitstop on the way to VicenzaOro Winter 2013

Getting warmer…not quite to the VicenzaOro Winter 2013 fair, but I’m getting closer.

Well, thanks to my new friend, Fran, I am wrapping up this post sitting in a café in the Verona, Italy, airport, which is just an hour or so from my hotel in Padova. My new American gal pal with a strong New Jersey accent made the noise necessary to drive a young blonde Lufthansa agent to find us two plane seats—or at least to get us out of her sight.

Now I just wait for my hotel transport, which arrives in a few hours—along with, perhaps, my luggage? Sadly, that has now gone missing. But, being an optimist, I am hopeful that my bag shall arrive in time for me to be presentable at the show tomorrow. And if it doesn’t, well, a colleague from across the pond, Sarah Carpin (another glass-half-full type), director of CMJ Media in London, offered up this suggestion by way of Facebook: “The January sales [in Italy] are on—quick shopping trip tomorrow?”

Stay tuned for live updates via my Twitter feed from the show floor, with blog posts here to follow.

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