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Buyers Cast for Color in Dallas

DALLAS — Buyers filled in spring and summer orders at the January market here, where novelty continued to capture their fancy in the form of candy-colored accessories, printed spaghetti-strap summer dresses and fabrics with surface interest,...

DALLAS — Buyers filled in spring and summer orders at the January market here, where novelty continued to capture their fancy in the form of candy-colored accessories, printed spaghetti-strap summer dresses and fabrics with surface interest, such as cutouts, appliqués or shredded trim.

This story first appeared in the February 6, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The market ended Jan. 27 following the Dallas Market Center Co.’s announcement that it plans to close the International Apparel Mart and move all fashion tenants to the nearby World Trade Center, as reported. Since a team of real estate developers has also proposed moving the entire industry downtown, the two rival groups are both working to woo tenants to their project.

After the market, several sales representatives said business had exceeded their low expectations and most characterized it simply as “OK.”

Connie Sigel, owner of Elements in Dallas, was one of the few buyers with a significant budget increase, since she plans to double the size of her contemporary store in March. As she wrote an order for Jessie Della Femina’s pink linen cargo miniskirt and white appliquéd linen duster, Sigel said she had also bought Renee Garvey’s leaf sterling and abalone jewelry, Rachel Abrams’ intaglio-inspired jewelry and well-priced European sportswear by Sandro.

Joann Burnett, owner of five better-to-bridge Joann’s stores in the Houston metropolitan area, was hunting for “fun, different items that are impulse buys.” She praised Marisa Christina’s plaid military jacket, Barry Bricken’s brown gaucho split skirt and Diane Gilman’s stretch cotton blouse that accommodated sizes 10 to 14, which she deemed a “very smart move.”

Beth Holmes Griffith, owner of Fashion Post in Jackson, Miss., bought Isabel de Pedro’s black knit top and matching gabardine pants with a motif of sea coral beaded down the sides.

“I’m very conservative,” Griffith said. “I buy 15 percent under my open-to-buy, so I can reorder if things turn.”

Colorful jewelry, belts and handbags were high on many buyers’ lists.

“People are really responding to the candy-colored semiprecious stones,” said Kendra Scott, a young designer from Austin, Tex. “We’re doing well with pink cherry quartz, green fluorite and abalone with blue topaz. Multistrand necklaces do best.”

“We’re buying coral and chandelier earrings and some linear looks, like long skinny earrings,” said Mary Bengtson, a buyer for Nouveau in Wichita, Kan., as she reviewed Gerard Yosca’s jewelry. “We love mother of pearl and we’re still doing a lot of crosses.”