By  on August 15, 2005

NEW YORK — The burgeoning number of brands, new products and upstart companies injected renewed vigor into last week’s spring-summer market.

The pace of the market was underscored by the Lingerie Americas trade fair at the Altman Building and Metropolitan Pavilion here, where 234 domestic and international lingerie brands were exhibited to a record number of nearly 3,000 buyers, suppliers, distributors and the media. The main draw was the diversity of large brands, new labels and scores of smaller entrepreneurial resources from California, Florida and New England, as well as Canada, South America, Europe and New Zealand.

Patrice Argain, president and chief executive officer of Lingerie Americas, said the company would be exploring options to expand the show’s venue in November, mainly because the turnout of visitors and the demand for additional space were growing.

“We are starting to talk to management at the Metropolitan Pavilion about having an additional floor for exhibitors and we are also talking to them about improving the logistics for visitors, such as a second elevator,” said Argain.

The fair is currently staged on the main floors of the Altman Building and the Metropolitan Pavilion, as well as on a fourth level.

Meanwhile, traffic was brisk at Madison Avenue showrooms, reflecting an upbeat and at times exuberant ambience. Many of the showrooms were filled to capacity by senior retail management and buyers from major department and specialty stores, including Neiman Marcus, Henri Bendel, Saks Fifth Avenue, Dillard’s and Carson Pirie Scott, as well as a huge representation from Federated Department Stores.

There also was a strong contingent of buyers for boutiques from the Midwest and Southeast, including shops that sell intimates along with ready-to-wear, swimwear, bridal and accessories.

Fashion merchandise was at the top of buyers’ shopping lists, which featured feminine daywear pieces such as dual-purpose chemises, camis, tanks and boy-cut pants, as well as a key sleepwear item: playful baby dolls with built-in push-up bras. Overall, elements that enhanced the perceived value of a garment were in demand, from soft microfiber and special detailing such as European and engineered lace to sequins, rhinestones and ribbon trims. Printed mesh  was a fresh classification.

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