NEW YORK — Winter might not be ready to give up its hold on New York, but Bloomingdale’s pushed the season along a bit by unveiling its “Dress for Spring” campaign on Tuesday night in the midst of a sticky snow storm.

The retailer, which asked several of its sportswear resources to design exclusive dresses for the season, had dresses in its windows from Lexington Avenue around to Third Avenue and many more on the fourth floor, where Kal Ruttenstein, senior vice president of fashion direction, discussed the merits of wearing dresses with many of the designers involved in the project. So what if it stole a little thunder from competitor Lord & Taylor, which has traditionally marketed itself as “America’s Dress Address.”

“It’s a beautiful way to get dressed,” said Perry Ellis women’s designer Patrick Robinson. “Especially now, women are starting to buy spring because they think that if they buy something sleeveless, then it will start warming up.”

Anna Sui considers dresses to be a novel way of dressing for a generation that was reared on sportswear.

“It’s so easy,” she said. “Rather than dealing with a jacket, shirt and pants or a skirt, all you have to think about is the dress.”

“It’s a fundamental, isn’t it?” asked Calvin Klein designer Francisco Costa. “Women love dresses.”

“It’s a celebration of femininity,” added Zac Posen. “Women want to be in dresses right now because they are fun and flirty, and a way for them to express themselves and be cool.”

Many designers involved said creating exclusives for retailers is becoming more important as a means of differentiating the look of dress and sportswear departments from store to store, as well as a way to maintain their individual importance to buyers. Costa made a pink day dress with grosgrain ribbon trim, Posen created a pale pink rendition of his shell dress, and there were flower prints from Marc Jacobs and Derek Lam, pin dots from Ralph Lauren and purple netting from Vera Wang.

The store had sold 24 out of 25 of Donna Karan’s knotted red dresses since they hit the selling floor, Ruttenstein said, as more designers flowed into the store — Lam, Ken Kaufman and Isaac Franco, Rebecca Taylor, Carmen Marc Valvo and Chaiken’s Jeff Mahshie, who brought along three staff members in dresses from his spring collection.Shoshanna Lonstein Gruss, whose dress collection helped revive the look over the last few years, noted that more stores are displaying dresses in other areas than the traditional ready-to-wear department. Bloomingdale’s, for example, displays dresses with sportswear on its second and third floors, making them more accessible to young, stylish shoppers.

“Now younger women are feeling more comfortable in dresses,” she said, wearing a strapless eyelet dress with sandals, despite the snow.

“To get here, I wore my dress with sweatpants,” she confessed, before realizing what her mother might think. “Put that I was wearing lipstick. As long as my Mom thinks I have lipstick on and my hair is brushed, I can do anything — I can commit murder.”

— Eric Wilson and Rosemary Feitelberg

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