NEW YORK — If the spring edition of the Fashion Coterie is any indication, a retail revival could be on the horizon.

The trade show, which ended its three-day run here Oct. 2, saw its 1,100 booths bustling with buyers placing orders for spring. There was an array of trends getting retailer attention, from the newest fit jeans from Citizens of Humanity and Earl Jean to the latest signature scarf-print dress from Tibi and a halter bikini from Shoshanna. Spicing up the season were colorful preppy sweaters and floral dresses.

“I am seeing some of the greatest fashions I’ve seen in a while,” said Sofiya Ifaimoua, buyer for the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Brighton Wear boutique. “The colors are great and the clothes are just overall great-looking.”

Ifaimoua was just one of the 11,800 retailers walking the floors at Piers 94, 92 and 90 on the banks of Hudson River at the ENK International-produced Coterie, where the prevailing upbeat mood effervesced from the feeling that the economy is on the road to recovery.

“I literally just came with a suitcase and have been so busy at this show,” said Deborah Sweeney, a New Zealand-based designer who showed at the Coterie for the first time. “I’ve had such great feedback. It’s such a great opportunity for me, since I am only in about six stores in the U.S. right now.”

With a wholesale range from $35 to $50, Sweeney showed an Eighties-inspired line of sweats, dresses, skirts and jeans in pink, brown and gray. The line also featured leopard-print chiffon miniskirts and pointelle cardigans in bright colors. Sweeney also showed her accessories line, which included handbags and some jewelry.

Also new to Coterie was Dosty, a New York-based contemporary firm. The line wholesales for $34 to $85 and includes pieces made for easy mixing and matching, like a soft cotton motorcycle jacket in colors such as soft yellow and tan, with pants made in the same colors.

“It’s a new and sophisticated way to look at the tracksuit,” said Dorothy Lanier, designer of the line. “It’s more dressed up than a tracksuit, but still comfortable.”Also in the line were French terrycloth ponchos and featherweight corduroy pants. Selling well were knit arm and legwarmers at $9 a pair.

Rory Tahari also made her debut at the show with her line, T21, launching for spring 2004. With wholesale prices of $35 to $200, the wife of designer Elie Tahari put together items such as white cotton pants with a mesh stripe down the side with matching jacket, and lightweight tops made for easy layering.

“The line was really born out of what I thought was missing from my own wardrobe,” Tahari said. “I wanted easy, great-looking clothes that I could throw on and run out with.”

Tibi, another contemporary firm based in New York, featured preppy green sweaters with pink tennis skirts and floral sundresses in bright colors. According to designer Amy Smilovic, retailers were looking for the updated prep look with a feminine edge.

“This has been my best show to date,” she said. “It’s been consistently busy, not a second of quiet.”

At Lila, a fast-growing contemporary line that debuted in February, retailers were looking for an alternative to the denim jacket, such as a pink cotton, tailored jacket. Also big booking were cotton stretch camisoles and cardigans, along with tailored pants in yellow, coral and pink. The Lila line wholesales for $68 to $79.

TRENDCAST

  • Pleated tennis miniskirts.

  • Preppy sweaters in colors such as lime green and bright pink.

  • Super-thin T-shirts and tanks made for layering.

  • Pointelle sweaters and camisoles.

  • Sophisticated sweats.

  • Trouser-style jeans.

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