By  on April 20, 2006

DALLAS — With an eye for special items, buyers at the fall market at FashionCen­terDallas responded to detailed short jackets, cropped pants, Bermuda shorts, long sweaters and skinny jeans, and velvet, plaid and lace treatments.

The mood was upbeat at the show which ended March 31, and out-of-territory traffic was strong.

"Attendance was even with last year's successful show, with gains in out-of-territory buyers from the West and Southeast," said Cindy Morris, chief operating officer of the Dallas Market Center Co., which operates the venue. "FashionCenterDallas continues to offer expanded offerings, including a 20 percent increase in temporary exhibitors, and we continue to experience positive crossover traffic as buyers from apparel stores source from leading gift and home showrooms."

Nat Ekelman, who owns the Ge-Ne showroom representing contemporary, bridge and European labels, said, "We've had quite a number of people who have never been to Dallas before, many from the Midwest."

Carol Ferrell, a partner in the Ferrell & Kramer showroom of contemporary and misses' labels, also saw new faces.

"It's been very good," she said. "We've opened up a lot of new stores. We've had an increase in south-of-the-border traffic."

Brad Ritz, owner of Ritz Group showroom of contemporary and designer labels, said the market was strong, with "the largest day we've ever had of any market" on the show's penultimate day.

"We're really excited about the longer sweaters and skinny jeans," said Steve Sohosky, who owns SoHo Clothiers in Rogers, Ark. "We picked up several washes from different vendors. The market looks good. I'm impressed to see some new styles and silhouettes in trousers and denim."

With sales up 9 percent so far this year, Sohosky increased his fall budget by 5 percent as he ordered slim jeans from Paige Premium Denim, Citizens for Humanity, Seven and A.G. He also booked long sweaters by Velvet and detailed, cropped jackets from People Like Frank.

Victoria Jackson, owner of Talula contemporary boutique here, was enthusiastic about romantic Victorian and Edwardian looks.

"I liked the jackets with puffed and gathered sleeves, the new trend in vests and the rich fabrics — brocades, velvets, crushed velvets and tapestries," she said. "And dresses are huge. I probably bought more dresses than I've ever bought. I also bought form-fitting long tunics with leggings. It's a retro ‘Flashdance' kind of thing that is really new to all the younger girls."Jackson increased her budget about 10 percent and planned to buy several dress styles from BCBG, including a brown lace sparkly number; Gasp's brocade jacket and vest with a printed georgette blouse and skirt, and Max Studio's lace blouses and skirts plus cropped pants with a puffed-sleeve jacket.

Ashley Eady, buyer for Turner Collection, a contemporary and misses' store in San Angelo, Tex., kept her budget flat.

"There seem to be a lot more items in the market, and we do well with that," Eady said as she reviewed decorated jackets from Spy. "I'm also buying gauchos, cropped pants and Bermuda shorts."

Eady favored an easy pant with a romantic wrap top by Isda and lace tops by Buttercup.

Joe Moseley shopped for the women's boutique he plans to open Oct. 1 next to his men's store, Moseley & Holland, in the growing city of Lafayette, La. Called Elle, it will accent contemporary fashion and denim.

"We've had so many people from the hurricane move to Lafayette, so we're booming," he said. "And oil prices are up, so our economy is heating up."

Moseley and his wife, Nell, wrote orders for a cream crocheted sweater over a black knit dress from Cynthia Steffe, elegant blouses and cashmere sweaters from Robert Talbot and soft "cashmere wash" jeans from Melting Pot.

Nancy Fosse, owner of Fosse's shoe, accessories and clothing store in Dallas, was concentrating on fill-ins and placing fall orders only with lines that sell out quickly.

"I'm always looking for good jeans and great Ts, anything with stones and embellishment, but it's more isolated and not so much bling," she said.

With a budget up 5 to 6 percent, Fosse reordered G Designs' cotton corset tops and blouses that have been selling well. Fosse also found item tops from I.D.I. and an embroidered cotton jacket by Méchant.

"I'm picking up some gold jewelry, but we predominantly sell silver — hoops and dangles," she said.

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