By  on September 27, 2007

NEW YORK — Dresses in ladylike silhouettes prevailed for spring at the Nouveau Collective trade show.

The exhibition, which ran from Sept. 16 to 18 on the second and third floors of the New Yorker Hotel, attracted 1,200 buyers. There were about 325 labels on display, including Donna Morgan, Insight, Carine, Mycra Pac, Nicola Berti, White Rice, Magdalena, Tianello and Spa Sweats, and 22 first-time exhibitors such as Dilemma, After Glo and Wanda Webb, according to the show's producer Joanne Feinstein.

Even though it was all about the dress for spring, whether a novelty lace tunic from Surrealist or a Mod-inspired shift from Donna Morgan, pants continue to make a comeback. Pants were available in both narrow and wide-leg styles, and regarding color, designers can do no wrong when pairing up classic black and white.

Still in line with fall's return to more body-conscious shapes, Donna Morgan showed designs that were more tailored to a woman's figure. The collection included sleeveless ponte knit dresses in bold black-and-white designs that had a Sixties vibe without being too over the top, as well as solid styles with metallic accents such as exposed zippers and oversize gold buttons, both wholesaling for $59.

"This was a shock," said Insight's vice president of sales, Yvette Gettinger, of the company's best-selling spring item, "It's the illusion of a high-waisted pencil skirt, with patent leather detailing, because shine is very, very strong. It's phenomenal." The skirt, which comes in black and brown and wholesales for $39, gives off the appearance of having a high waist even though it falls at the natural waist. Other big sellers for Insight were the pleated French coat, a bi-stretch topper with slit button detailing and pleating in the back, wholesaling for $78, and the wide-leg pant, wholesaling for $34. Insight is available at Nancy & Co. in New York and Jonathan in Redondo Beach, Calif.

"We do substantial volume with Insight. It's a great fit and the margin is extraordinary," said Marcie Brawer, co-owner and buyer of The Studio in Brookline, Mass. "We do enormously well with Insight. We are fitting younger girls and older women, mothers and daughters."Brawer and her best friends, twin sisters Sandy Gradman and Ilene Epstein, have owned The Studio for the past 28 years. In addition to ordering the pencil skirt, French coat and wide-leg trousers from Insight, the three placed orders with Curio, Andrea Lieu and Mycra Pac.

"Our spring trends are shine, animal, texture, metal, waxed linen and a plethora of color," said Sharon Huebschwerlen of Mycra Pac, summing up the collection. Bestsellers at Mycra Pac, known for its travel friendly, reversible raincoats, included the "Donatella," a metallic rose jacquard theater coat, wholesaling for $195; "Frankie the Tulip," a high-low hem coat with square buttons, wholesaling for $145, and the short and long parachute coat with a hood that tucks up into the collar, wholesaling for $105 and $120, respectively.

For her Beach Haven, N.J., store, Indian Summer, owner Marla Wink purchased plenty of lightweight, printed dresses in shades of blue, brown and white. "I bought very light, very colorful, and flowy dresses for the spring," said Wink, who has owned her own store for 21 years. "I am at the beach, so I buy a lot of rayon dhobi blend dresses and skirts from White Rice."

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