By  on February 13, 2008

NEW YORK — The earlier-than-usual trade show schedule didn't seem to derail Train and Platform 2.

Moved up to Feb. 9 to 11 to overlap with Coterie, the niche trade show duo, which caters to high-end European lines, had a successful run at Terminal Stores here, where interesting jackets emerged as a favorite of buyers.

Bloomingdale's staffers attended for the first time, and assistant buyer Heather Nacewicz said she liked what she saw.

"The show was a great representation of foreign resources we wouldn't normally find in New York," Nacewicz said. "My trip was more exploratory than about finding specific items, so I haven't placed any orders yet. I'm also being a little cautious about placing orders until I see what comes out of the European shows."

Nacewicz said she found one line she particularly liked and plans to order from at Platform 2: Weill, a 115-year-old Paris collection that launched in 20 doors in the U.S. Platform 2 is Train's younger sister, and the big news was Platform 2's permanent move to a bigger space running side by side with Train.

"It's a pity we can't share space with Train, but we've gotten wonderful traffic and new orders," said Nicole Lejeune, export manager for Weill, which showed at Platform 2 for the second time. For fall, the French brand did well with its tweed suits, which wholesale for around $250 for jackets and $120 for bottoms, in black and white, as well as in a royal purple.

New York-based line Mezza showed for the third time at Platform 2. Designer Askin Meric said the show is coming into its own, forming its own identity alongside the more established Train.

"The show is really improving," Meric said. "They've renovated the space and there are more exhibitors. Traffic is still a little slow, but it's always like that."

Lines new to the show reported success. Romanian line Zasha did well at its first Platform 2, taking lots of orders for its little gray dresses that wholesale from $60 to $120. French line BGN, which wholesales for $120 on average, said sales were higher than expected at its first show. BGN did particularly well with silk print dresses and charmeuse blouses.Back at Train, where price tags tend to be higher and traffic tends to be heavier, exhibitors reported encouraging results.

"We found there was no price resistance at all," said Mintee Kalra, creative director of Los Angeles-based Mintee. "We picked up so many new stores here we would never have found otherwise."

Mintee is launching for fall as a designer brand, after three seasons as a contemporary label, inspired by designer Kalra winning the ready-to-wear designer of the year award at the International Design Awards. The new incarnation wholesales from $158 up to $1,028 for a lambskin jacket that sold strongly. Dresses with ruffle and weaving detailing, particularly in navy and ivory, also did well.

Terexov, a Russian-based line that showed in Bryant Park during New York Fashion Week, got strong orders from appointments. Favorites in the line, which wholesales from $430 to $1,700, were dresses from brown chiffon to blue leather.

"The first and second day were very busy, and the third day wasn't so bad considering we are a designer line with designer price points," said Maria Garrido, who owns Haute Designs Inc. showroom, where Terexov shows. "The mood overall is good — everyone says they are doing better than last fall."

New York-based Ardistia did well with its asymmetric black wool coats, which wholesale for around $500 at Train, but the full line was at Coterie, said assistant designer Sheryl Graham.

Slovenia-based Cliché is a regular at the show, and Cliché rep Yelenia Leskovar said traffic held steady. Her bestseller was a shiny textured black jacket, made of foiled linen that wholesales for $359. A shorter version of that jacket, plus another novelty black jacket, also caught buyers' attention. On the other hand, Leskovar said she was surprised by the weakness of knits.

"People are ordering more carefully than in past seasons," Leskovar said. "They took more risks before — it's probably the recession, which surprised me, because don't people often look for more special pieces in troubled times?"

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