By  on August 8, 2005

NEW YORK — The spring market here last week was awash with new products, innovative concepts and a crush of retailers looking for the next big idea.

Buyers were upbeat, and many said last spring's business was better than expected and they anticipated a bullish back-to-school and fall selling season. Key areas targeted by merchants for growth included luxury merchandise, fashion-forward brands and contemporary separates.

Two venues provided buyers with nonstop action. The Lingerie Americas trade show at the Altman Building and Metropolitan Pavilion drew more than 3,000 attendees, and Madison Avenue showrooms, which in a number of cases — such as Maidenform, Karen Neuburger, Movie Star, Richard Leeds International, Natori and Russell-Newman — were overbooked with appointments.

But it wasn't all work and no play. The week's busy agenda was underscored by several events that lent importance to the industry's push for newness and fashion. Kicking off the week was the second formal fashion show and cocktail party by Lingerie Americas at the Puck Building, which pulled in some 300 retailers, vendors and media personnel. The $280,000 runway show, which was sponsored by Invista Lycra and the French trade organization DEFI, drew international TV coverage from France and Japan, as well as ABC's "20/20," which is doing a segment on lingerie for fall.

Mary Krug, vice president and divisional merchandise manager of intimate apparel and hosiery at Neiman Marcus, said, "This has been a terrific market. I love all of the fashion colors."

Top-booking ideas included:

  • Ingenue-looking chemises that double as dresses by brands such as French Jenny, Hue, Cinema Etoile and Natori.
  • Feather-light seamless shapers by Flexees, Barely There, Wacoal and Va Bien.
  • Bling embellishments on bras, panties, bustiers and nighties, such as sequins, paillettes, rhinestones and metallic accents. These included textured matte and shine treatments.
Festivities continued at two events celebrating new showrooms and offices at Natori Co., which unveiled it's sprawling white-on-white environment designed by Calvin Tsao at 180 Madison Avenue, and Russell-Newman's West Coast-inspired floor at 6 East 32nd Street. The Russell-Newman firm showcased five brands: Cypress, Jockey, Laura Ashley, Tommy Hilfiger and Caribbean Joe.

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