By  on January 10, 1994

NEW YORK -- Reports of strong holiday sales at the store level, and some good early spring orders, are giving accessories designers and manufacturers here reason to be optimistic about spring and summer sales.

Most vendors cite naturals and silver as the strongest trends for late spring and summer.

Sherie Christmas, president and co-owner of Maxx, New York, a handbag maker, projects gains of 20 to 25 percent, citing strong sales in November and December, which she hopes will continue in the January market.

"We had a very good November, and have already gotten reorders on the early spring groups that were just delivered," said Christmas.

She also said that the firm has focused on a variety of takes on naturals, with totes and backpacks the most popular styles.

Victoria Andreozzi and Karen Erickson, partners at Showroom Seven, an accessories sales representative, said based on retailer reports and the number of appointments the showroom has scheduled, they anticipate a strong week.

"We usually do the majority of our business at the Circuit," said Andreozzi. "But for this market, we've increased our staff at the showroom too."

Erickson said that because so many buyers placed early orders, many of the firm's collections are already sold out for spring, making this week a summer market.

"In addition to lowering prices on a portion of the collection, we're also launching a sterling silver line, priced at $18 to $70, and will continue to offer our regular line, which is from $12 to $32," said Rokoff, "That way, our customers have a wider variety to choose from."

Craig Chorney, designer and sales manager for Le Jon belts, said he expects the January market to continue to be tough for belts, since fashion is so loose and fluid.

"To make products that address the current fashion looks and still service the belt customer, I've done contour, hip-slung, shotgun and loose silhouettes," said Chorney.

He believes that price, texture and unusual types of leather will drive business for spring. As a result, he's added textured leather, a pigskin and cork mix, a washed metallic croco print, and embossed and basket-woven leathers.

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