By and  on May 16, 1994

NEW YORK -- Activity at two major trade shows held here last week reflected the general sense in the market that accessories are in for a smoother ride after a bumpy year.

Here's a look at the action at both events.

Fashion Accessories Expo

Many vendors at the Fashion Accessories Expo cited less price resistance and more enthusiasm among retailers as the keys to the best business they've seen recently.

The three-day show, which took place at Piers 90 and 92 and ended last Thursday, brought in 7,000 people, 100 more than one year ago, according to Conference Management Co., which runs the show. Exhibitors numbered 704, down from 720.

Hats and jewelry were among the classifications stores were zooming in on for both fall and immediate orders. According to many exhibitors, stores seemed to know exactly what they were looking for and weren't splitting hairs over price, a previously touchy issue.

"In all the transactions I've made, no one has even asked the price before writing the order," said milliner Debbie Cohen, whose firm of the same name is based in Los Angeles.

In Cohen's line, with wholesale prices going up to $75, cloches, fedoras and other classic silhouettes as well as softer, more casual shapes were bestsellers.

"This show has been much better for us than it was last May," she noted. "And I've been picking up new accounts, which hasn't happened for me at this show in quite a while."

Maya Evangelista, an accessories designer whose line bears her first name, also said that price was not an issue on her line of fashion jewelry, belts and pouch bags.

"Our most expensive pieces go up to about $90 wholesale, but for fall everyone's going after big, dramatic pieces and the prices don't seem to be a problem," Evangelista said. She noted that her best-selling items included large, long necklaces done in silverplated metal and stone-like resin chunks, as well as pouch bags with straps that can be converted into belts or necklaces.

Evangelista, who said her orders were up 30 percent from a year ago, noted that "buyers seem more upbeat at this market than they have in a while."

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