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Fall Order Pace Off in Dallas

DALLAS — Immediate goods did an unusually brisk business at the fall market here, as some buyers chose to hold off placing fall orders because of rocky business trends and the uncertainty caused by the war in Iraq.<br><br>But merchants still...

DALLAS — Immediate goods did an unusually brisk business at the fall market here, as some buyers chose to hold off placing fall orders because of rocky business trends and the uncertainty caused by the war in Iraq.

But merchants still praised the detailed styles offered for fall, including leather and suede items with novelty treatments and fashions distinguished by asymmetry, topstitching, appliqués and embroidery. The market ended March 31.

Some manufacturers reported resistance to French styles because of the controversial political climate. One was moving the “Made in France” label from the neck to the side seam of knit tops so it would be less visible and another called a Provencal print by a different name so as to avoid association with France.

GeNe Sales marked its 35th anniversary in business with a party and by reinventing its showroom with 12 new accessories and sportswear lines that emphasize young designer looks. Donna Duensing, owner of Coco in Nashville, found a number of strong fall styles at GeNe.

“Bridge collections have finally given us some new items,” said Duensing, who was keeping her budget even with last year.

She praised a leather jacket and tweed pants by Nougat, leather with embroidery and grommets from Oscar by Oscar de la Renta and detailed leather outerwear by Dana Buchman.

Pat Healy and Don Ayre, owners of Morgan’s in Galveston, Tex., were sticking to immediate orders since warm weather doesn’t reach the Gulf of Mexico until November. As they reviewed black and white Mod sportswear by Linda Segal, they said that business has been fair, partly due to an increase in the number of cruise ships docking in Galveston as some vacationers have turned to the seas for fear of flying.

Risa Alpert, director of operations for the Marmi shoe and accessories chain based in St. Louis, was one of the rare buyers with a bigger budget, since her company is opening three new stores by August. She favored cargo handbags, framed kidsuede dress bags and crinkled black patent leather styles.

“Francesco Biasia is a core line for me,” she said. “It’s the best intrinsic value in the market.”

Victoria Jackson, owner of Byzantine boutique in Dallas, said she was conservative with spending and careful not to duplicate styles.

“I loved Muchacha,” she said. “I bought their interesting patchwork skirts and tissue cotton shirts with a satin paisley appliqué.”

Sue Johnson, a buyer at Susan’s, Fort Wayne, Ind., said, “I found a new line called Sao Paolo, which is a well-priced collection of suedes, knits and beautiful sportswear. I just love Brazil Roxx denim jeans, which I think is the hottest denim line out there. It’s embellished with studs and appliqués in a really fun way.'”

Her budget was down 10 percent because of trepidation about the war.

Sara Enzbrenner, buyer at Miss Jackson’s in Tulsa, Okla., said her budget was flat, and she was impressed by the “new colors that pop, such as the beautiful pinks and blues.” She liked Isabel de Pedro’s drawstring ruched plaid and pinstripe pants and DiVita’s supple lambskin leathers.