By  on May 10, 2007

NEW YORK — The Atelier Designer Collections at the Double Tree Hotels Suites Hotel here embodied casual comfort, but maintained a level of sophistication to which buyers of higher-end lifestyle brands have grown accustomed.

The show, which ran from Sunday to Tuesday, attracted about 400 buyers who saw the offerings of 42 designers, including Ahni and Co., Amy Brill, Blanque, Jackie Loves John, Judy Tampa, Julie Fenton Young, Sophie Finzi and Treadle Design Room.

Designs for the fall and holiday collections, although heavy on texture, tried to veer away from minimalism and the foreboding blacks and grays that seemed unavoidable at fall 2007 fashion week.

Brocades, gold leaf, sequins and lace were popular in Treadle Design Room's embellished jackets. The brand's most popular style is the Eclipse Again Jacket, which wholesales for $152 and is available in a viscose cotton-nylon blend. Knitwear and sportswear were offered in a plethora of colors, but it seemed eggplant and shades of plum were favorites with designers and buyers. Sophie Finzi's Pashoot Line included a swing open-side sweater and matching gaucho pants with zippers at the ankles, both in deep purple, wholesaling for $48 to $120.

Julie Fenton Young, an Albuquerque, N.M., artist who makes all her accessories by hand, has created high-end jewelry from all mediums, ranging from pre-World War II German and Czechoslovakian crystals to recycled jewelry and trinkets. They wholesale for about $200. One of Young's lines, Urban Roadkill, consists of jewelry made entirely from what she collected over a four-year period when she walked her dog. This cutting-edge collection comprised bracelets made of razor blades, broken beer bottles, screws, nails, pieces of a CD and old guitar strings.

"We concentrate on smaller designer collections and we primarily sell to small stores, the kind of store you can go into and you really get a lot of service," said Atelier Designers director Susan Summa. "The people know the lines that are there, they know your taste, they keep a client file on you and that's the kind of stores that we connect with."

Summa cited retailers such as Ann Ahn and MK Lifestyle, both on Madison Avenue here, as specialty stores that frequent the Atelier Designer Collections. Dream Weaver, with locations in Sarasota, Fla., and Martha's Vineyard, Mass., and Harari, with three locations in Southern California and one in Scottsdale, Ariz., are also regular buyers of the collections featured at Atelier Designs.Bonnie Chernikoff, owner/buyer of Bonnie's Goubaud in the Cleveland suburb of Woodmere Village, Ohio, a family-owned boutique for five decades, is a loyal Treadle customer. She has been buying Treadle's signature jackets for more than a dozen years and calls her customers the moment a shipment arrives. Chernikoff consistently purchases pieces from Ahni and Co. (who are coming to her store to do a trunk show), Amy Brill and Sophie Finzi, and bought a lot of purple and red for fall.

Kiki Hughes, owner/buyer of the Philadelphia boutique bearing her name that opens in August, purchased a lot of Blanque's collection and was particularly drawn to its textured fabrics. "Blanque has a really cool novelty fabric called croc, which is an actual texture that I thought was fabulous, and their matte crepe is also great," Hughes said.

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