By  on October 18, 2011

DALLAS — An exposition of 40-plus Italian fashion, jewelry and accessories resources plus food and cultural highlights and an appearance by designer Tracy Reese will headline the upcoming Dallas Market Center show Oct. 27 to 30.

Sales representatives are reasonably optimistic about the market since business has been consistent despite economic fears.

“Interestingly enough, business is holding up decently,” observed Brad Ritz, owner of Ritz Group.

“Market attendance this year is on track to be better than five years ago, before the economic uncertainty,” asserted Cindy Morris, DMC chief operating officer. “We are fortunate to draw loyal buyers from a stable portion of the country and to attract more new buyers than in many years.”

The first-time Italian Expo is reminiscent of the famous Fortnight promotions staged for nearly 30 years by Neiman Marcus. Organized with the Italian American Chamber of Commerce, it will offer a look at the style and cuisine of Italy through exhibitors, runway shows and food and wine tastings.

The expo will be installed on the sixth floor of the World Trade Center building on the DMC campus, with most of the fashion shows slated for the afternoons of Oct. 27 and 28. Each of nine fashion shows focuses on goods from a specific region of Italy, including Tuscany, Sicily, Florence, Campania and Pisa.

“The Italian Fashion Expo will deliver high-style, world-class resources to market,” Morris said. “The sixth floor temporary area will provide buyers with a multifaceted experience.”

Raffaella Curiel, an award-winning Milanese designer known for elegant dresses and suits, is a featured vendor. She was nicknamed “the intellectual of Italian fashion” because of her frequent use of characters from literature and art as inspiration. Curiel will present her spring collection on the runway, Thursday at 3 p.m.

Antonio D’Amico, who was Gianni Versace’s companion for 15 years and designed Versace Sport, will also show his designs.

New York contemporary designer Tracy Reese will be the special guest at “Dallas in Wonderland,” a runway show and cocktail party at 6 p.m. the first day of market in the lobby of the World Trade Center.

Reese packed her Oct. 27 schedule with a meet-and-greet at her sales rep’s showroom, Ritz Group, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., followed by a 1 p.m. appearance at Neiman Marcus at NorthPark Center and another visit to the showroom before the party.

“The Southwest is a really strong territory for us — we have over 75 specialty store accounts in the region,” Reese said.

Her business has “grown nicely over the last couple of years,” Ritz noted.

Pricier items are also selling well at StyleLounge, noted showroom co-owner Tracy Holden.

“I’m constantly placing reorders for Habitual, which is amazing because it’s such a high-dollar product,” Holden said, adding that the jeans wholesale from $80 to $120.

In August, StyleLounge moved across the 15th floor into room 15224 in the contemporary neighborhood, so Holden plans to celebrate the new digs with a party late Thursday afternoon featuring international rockabilly DJ Rob Choppy.

Additional new permanent showrooms include Canadian knitwear and dress firm Frank Lyman Design in 15585; VSA Accessories’ handbags and scarves in 13604; Sookie Sookie’s whimsical handcrafted jewelry in 13925, and Brown Shoe Company’s Naturalizer and Naya lines in 13042. Freestone Sales, which carries Vineyard Vines, JBrand Men’s and other labels, moved up to 15850 from the 7th floor men’s area.

During the show, buyers can brush up on trends at seminars with Gregor Simmons, principal of her namesake buying office, and David Wolfe, creative director of Doneger Group.

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