NEW YORK — Novelty looks, suede, blouses and skirts topped the trends at the fourth edition of Femme, which ended its three-day run May 10 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center here. Femme, which premiered last year as a combination of the former Style Industrie and Fashion Boutique shows, featured 1,200 exhibitors and drew some 9,000 retailers.The mood at Femme was upbeat, as buyers lauded new additions to the show, including educational seminars and designated areas devoted to plus sizes, teens and tweens, and streetwear.Mary Jo Scofes, director of trend merchandising at Jacobson Stores, based in Jackson, Mich., said she placed orders for shawls and wraps, embroidered suede pieces, blouses, skirts and novelty items. “One of the main things that will push fall is novelty and individuality, and all those folkloric things give that.”Knitwear tops, ruffled blouses, suede and leather were on the must list for Julie Roberts Blunt, owner of Fresh Ideas Clothing Co., in Highland Park, Ill.“I’m looking for new lines and new resources,” Blunt said. “I came here with about 25 [percent] on my fall buy, so I still had room for newness.”Embroidered looks from Papy Boez and novelty, Indian-inspired separates from Sacred Threads impressed Patricia Finson, owner of Pat’s at Chautauqua, in Chautauqua, N.Y.“We’re getting everything for summer and fall — I’ll do about $150,000 by the time I leave,” Finson said. “We basically go with the classics and do some trends like turquoise and peasant tops.”Dana Desforges, owner of the New Orleans-based La Doux, ordered a variety of looks from blouse-maker Ravel, including floral prints, ruffled looks and fringe trims, wholesaling from $14 to $31.“We have a lot of customers that come in and are looking for something to wear for a variety of occasions, and blouses are a good option,” Desforges said. “Plus, the economy seems to be getting better. Customers are buying more, so we’re buying more.”Deborah Baum, general manager of MAGIC International, which produces the Femme show, said she was pleased with the buyer and exhibitor turnout given the change in dates that took place so the show would not coincide with Mother’s Day.“We went through hoops so that the show would be Wednesday through Friday and off that [Mother’s Day] weekend,” Baum said. “But going forward in September, we will always be on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Those are good days. [Retailers and exhibitors] like Saturday-night stays and it gives [exhibitors] time to set up on Friday and Saturday and then the show starts.”

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