By  on September 25, 2007

NEW YORK — Floral summer dresses gave way to a slightly cleaner, more sophisticated look at the Designers & Agents show here last week, although the dress trend, while slowing down, will continue through spring.

Ron Herman, owner of the Ron Herman stores in Los Angeles, lauded the exhibition for its energy and selection of exhibitors who "are passionate about their product, and they still love the industry."

As for collections, he noted: "I liked seeing a line with soul and meaning like Organic, and at the same time, there were people who have been in business for a long time, like John Ward at Maggie Ward. I specifically buy lines that are creative.

"I am feeling there is a move to sexy clothes, and the idea of tight, skinny jeans has given way to long, lean sexy jeans, and baby-doll tops have given way to sexier tops. We are in a dress cycle."

Jennifer Cunningham, a contemporary buyer for the Houston-based chain Tootsies, said dresses continue to be a key classification, but added: "I'd like to see a return to skirts and pants because there has been a void. I am looking for color, prints [and] skirts, and always for novel and special items."

Eva Weiss, owner of the Butter boutique in Brooklyn, said she typically sees her regular vendors at D&A, which include Christina Lehr, Shirt and Kristensen du Nord. Weiss also bought pieces from Organic, which does "very, very well," adding "dresses are still definitely happening, and I don't think it's changing."

D&A continued to adapt its show this season, which ended its three-day run Sept. 17. After May's "green" initiative, the exhibition's new elements included two booths for Council of Fashion Designers of America members as part of a partnership with CFDA's Business Services Network, and a highlight of Danish designers (see related story, this page). The featured CFDA designers were Gemma Kahng and Twinkle Jewels.

"It gave buyers a chance to step back and look at us in a new light," said Barbara Kramer, who coproduces the show with Ed Mandelbaum.

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