By  on August 6, 2009

The spotlight at FashionCenterDallas’ upcoming market will shine on prom, a new focus at a venue best known for selections of contemporary, bridge, denim, misses’ and accessories — not to mention cowboy boots and Western clothing.

Executives expect respectable traffic at the show in the 15-story World Trade Center.

“Every market we’ve had this year has seen improvement in the number of buyers coming to market,” said Bill Winsor, chairman and chief executive officer of Dallas Market Center, which runs the 100-acre wholesale complex. “And our retail development people are telling us that they are getting an increase in first-time buyers coming in.”

The women’s and children’s fashion and accessories market will run Aug. 13 to 16, and overlap the first day of the Men’s Show — Dallas Collective, set for Aug. 16 to 18.

Prom’s big day is Saturday Aug. 14, when a ribbon-cutting, party and seminar will celebrate the district of prom, quinceañera and bridal showrooms, which bowed in the spring on the 14th floor.

“We’ll have the biggest prom market that we’ve had in the last 10 years,” said Cindy Morris, chief operating officer of DMC. “The new neighborhood for prom has over 250 lines, and the editor in chief of Teen Prom [magazine] will be doing a seminar. Prom is a significant opportunity, and one you will continue to see us capitalizing on.”

DMC officials project that prom business will generate between $5 million and $7 million in sales at this market.

“Prom is that life event that revolves around a dress — not unlike getting married and buying a bridal gown,” said Jayne Jamison, publisher of Seventeen. “Even if their parents are suffering, the girls have part-time jobs and will find a way to get a dress for prom. The average girl spends three months shopping and tries on 25 dresses.”

The price paid for a prom dress this year slid 6.7 percent to $220 from $236 in 2008, according to a survey by Seventeen.

Jane Fort, editor in chief of Teen Prom, said the top three prom trends will be the one-shoulder; bigger, bolder prints in geometrics, abstracts and florals, and flirty short styles.

Labels at FCD include Precious Formals, Alyce Designs, Terani Prom, House of Wu, Maggie Sotero, Mary’s Bridal, Allure Bridals and Casablanca Bridals.

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