DALLAS — Prom was a bright spot in an otherwise challenged market Aug. 13 to 16 at FashionCenterDallas.
Mothers and daughters still spend money on a new dress for the annual ritual, said vendors and retailers, and business reflected that optimism as the Dallas Market Center cut the ribbon on its new cluster of prom showrooms.
“I am not planning [prom] down — this spring it was fine,” said Kerry Miller, buyer for Sharpe Dry Goods in Pryor, Okla. “I’m shocked when a junior high girl spends $500 for a dress, but they do. Their mothers don’t even blink.”
Girls in small-town America go for big tulle Cinderella dresses and Scarlett O’Hara styles with dramatic tucked skirts, Miller said, motioning to a sapphire taffeta number and a metallic ice blue crinkle concoction by Scala.
Slinky jeweled styles and short baby dolls were also popular amid a vibrant palette featuring coral, pink, yellow, turquoise, plum and lime, plus bold floral and animal prints.
“I think we’ll probably beat last year’s figures, and we had a good year last year,” said Marty Boikess, whose Sam Sales showroom represents Mori Lee. “Of my major [independent] stores, 5 to 7 percent have increased their buy.”
Cindy Morris, chief operating officer of the Dallas Market Center, said, “The official opening of the fully leased prom and special occasion neighborhood was a market highlight, as well as the continued upswing of attendance by new buyers.”
In general, however, traffic was slow, and vendors reported more stores were financing their businesses with credit cards as banks and factors limited credit. In addition, an increasing number of resources requested deposits from buyers in an effort to prevent refusal of delivery.
“A lot of people are canceling orders, and the vendors are nervous and most at risk,” said sales representative Scott Harner. “Nobody is overcutting anymore. People are nervous to write reorders. If they sell it, they are happy and want to move on.”
Most buyers focused on deliveries through the end of the year, though some placed colorful spring looks for delivery in 2010. Priorities included jewelry, handbags, tops, dresses, leather jackets and denim. The Eighties influence showed up in banded tunics, slouchy jackets, jumpsuits and one-shoulder dresses. Many buyers wore boyfriend jeans as they placed additional orders for the style, as well as snug denim leggings.
Annette Ochoa, buyer for Joe Brand in Laredo, Tex., wrote her first order for dresses by Studio M, a division of Max Studio. The jersey, sweater and cocktail styles were slated to ship by the middle of next month and wholesale for $60 to $75.
“Everyone wants something stylish and lower price,” Ochoa said. “These will fill a void for something at a price with a sophisticated look. We want to get holiday in early — in September and early October — so we have longer selling.”
Yoni Segal, co-owner of Lucca in Oklahoma City, said business was “solid, not exciting,” as he shopped for his five contemporary stores. Along with shredded, skinny and gold studded jeans by Denim of Virtue, key lines included Hazel, C. Luce, Diesel, Seven For All Mankind, Miss Me and Current/Elliott.
“I’m trying to get discounts at the bottom of invoices to pass on to my customers,” Segal said. “I shop with credit cards to be careful and not buy more than I need.”
The Johnny Was showroom, full of Swiss-style embroidery on cotton and linen tops, and vintage-print silk tops and dresses, was busy and had a “good market,” said Melanie Jennings, showroom manager.
Tiffany Foster, owner of Goosefeathers in Corpus Christi, Tex., spent hours there writing a full two-page order for February and March deliveries of the company’s detailed looks. She said her oil- and gas-rich customers were “inching back” to shopping.
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)