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NEW YORK — When Marc Jacobs and Miuccia Prada sent out darker fall collections last February, they couldn’t have anticipated the swift impact on more mainstream vendors.
Resources exhibiting at the Fashion Avenue Market Expo and Moda Manhattan trade shows here didn’t exactly emulate Jacobs’ voluminous floral dresses or red velvet and tulle evening dresses, but they toned down the color and level of embroidery of past seasons for an altogether more sophisticated look.
“The embellishment craze is still happening, but the customer is also looking for a new simplicity we haven’t seen for a while,” said Kathryn Peters, owner and designer of Charleston, S.C.-based S.H.A.G., which offered dragon-embroidered denim jackets and sand-washed silk wrap skirts and tops at wholesale price points from $24 to $120. “I don’t think ethnic and embellished is out, but it is slightly more subdued or sophisticated.”
Janice Douglas, owner of the Fashionalty boutique in North East, Md., was at Moda looking for feminine styles. “I look for one new vendor each season, and I am still very pleased that there is color,” she said. “Color is still big for me, and I am looking for pieces that can complement each other.”
Kim Logue, owner of the About Attitude boutique in Midlothian, Va., was at FAME primarily for its selection of accessories. “I have seen many wooden bracelets and necklaces,” she said.
Among the key looks for fall are embroidered and tie-dye gypsy skirts, tunics, and a sand-washed palette of colors.
Ma Dahlia, an Istanbul label, launched at MAGIC in February and exhibited at Moda for the first time this year. Mine Ozgentas, design coordinator at Ma Dahlia, added more black items to the collection, noting that she anticipates the darker color trend to continue through next year with tones such as navy blue and brown. Wholesale prices for the line range from $20 to $35. The line targets contemporary specialty stores and chains.
“For fall, I am noticing less color than I have expected to see,’’ Ozgentas said. “Black is beginning to be more important again, especially in New York.”
Sharon Chun, sales manager at Interlud, said, “People get sick of color after a while, and all the forecasting is bohemian and hippie with more subdued colors. That said, I am sure the colors will come back.”
Ventriloquism, a newcomer to Moda, is a five-year-old South Korean label designed by Mijin Lee and Min Kyung Shin. The company is looking to break into the U.S. specialty store market with deconstructed coats, blouses, knitwear, pants and skirts. The collection wholesales from $30 to $50.
“We want to open our own store in New York within the next two years,” Shin said.
Rapps, meanwhile, is a showroom-like business that operates the Langan Macdara, Rapps, Denise Cruz and Irene’l lines.
“Items are very big right now,” said Joel Rappaport, who owns Rapps with his wife, Ellen. “In the small better stores, business is very challenging because of gas prices, the global situation with the war in Iraq and the rising costs of education.”
The shows, produced by Business Journals Inc. and held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center here, ended their three-day run May 4.