By  on May 2, 1994

NEW YORK -- A run of fall ready-to-wear collections that showed more accessories than have been seen in several seasons has set the stage for a top-notch May market, according to vendors and retailers.

The melange of hats, neckwear and other items seen in the U.S. collections last month cemented the conclusion among many that the minimalist look is on its way out.

The resurgence of accessories started at the European collections earlier this spring and continued through the runway shows here, causing a number of department and specialty store executives to wax enthusiastic about the potential for accessories business this fall.

Even jewelry, which had become almost a no-show on American runways and in fashion magazines, was more prominent this time. Ready-to-wear designers as diverse as Marc Jacobs and Oscar de la Renta tied both fashion and fine jewelry pieces into their presentations.

"We feel very good about the upcoming season, and one of the main reasons is because we see a lot of options to work with and draw consumer interest with," said Sandra Wilson, fashion director of accessories for Neiman Marcus.

Wilson said she is planning to use what she saw in Europe and the U.S. to put together her buying plan for the May market, which takes place here May 9-13.

She added that she anticipates a pickup in belts, a classification that has been experiencing major lags.

According to Joanne Hart, fashion director of accessories for Federated Merchandising, merchandising arm of Federated Department Stores, the new rtw trends are more favorable to accessorizing than they have been in the past few seasons.

"After all the deconstruction we saw, I think there's a slightly dressier and more structured element coming back into the clothing," Hart said. "And that can only help accessories more.

"The bright colors are really refreshing, coming off such a naturals-oriented season," Hart noted.

Hats, handbags and neckwear will be the classifications Hart said she'd key on during market week. As for jewelry, she said, "I think we've all been concerned about the minimal presence it's had, but with the brightly colored knits and industrial fabrics coming into ready-to-wear, I see a lot of potential for modern, sleek-looking metals."

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