By  on May 10, 2007

NEW YORK — It was all about shimmer and shine at ENK International's Intermezzo trade show here this week.

The three-day event that ended Wednesday at the Show Piers attracted retailers looking to fill their stores with cheer for the holiday season. And exhibitors didn't disappoint — with plenty of new items to entice buyers.

Randi Evans, owner of the Palm Beach, Fla.-based Rapunzel's Closet, couldn't have been happier with the holiday offerings.

"There are a lot of dresses that are short, but not so short that you need leggings," she said. "[There are] lots of gold button detailing and high-waist and wide-leg jeans and trousers. There were a lot of patent handbags from Lauren Merkin and Botkier. I loved the patent Sasha Botkier bag so much that I ended up ordering one for myself. And I bought the jeans from Seven [For All Mankind] that had the foil on pockets."

Wendy Ricchi, owner of the Orlando, Fla.-based Zou Zou, said a lot of the clothes were pretty, but she was looking for more flattering, fitted dresses. Many of the dresses she saw were still baby-doll styles.

"You have to be so skinny to wear those kinds of dresses and the skinnier girls want dresses that are more flattering," she said.

Ricchi said walking the show was overwhelming, with too many brands to choose from, but she loved Eva Franco's line of dresses, skirts and tops.

On the exhibitor end, Nieves Lavi, known for its printed silk jersey dresses, viewed Intermezzo as an opportunity to introduce a dressier line of dresses in an array of new fabrics. While the jersey dresses are clearly for daytime, the brand's holiday line moves into evening with solid silk charmeuse dresses in rich colors like red, brown and beige. There are also silk chiffon cocktail dresses, woven strapless dresses and printed silk jersey evening gowns.

"Mostly people seem to be coming to see the line here, they take notes and then place their orders later," said Sam Nieves Velez, creative director and co-founder of the three-year-old Nieves Lavi label. "We really wanted to elevate the product for holiday and bring in new silhouettes and fabrics."Nieves Velez said buyers were reacting well to the solid colors since it's something new from the designer. The Nieves Lavi line wholesales from $170 to $200.

At the Artistocratico To Be booth, the Los Angeles-based contemporary sportswear firm was busy booking woven pima cotton trench dresses in colors like black, white and tan. Rik Guido, owner and designer of the brand, said that he purchases all of his fabrics in Italy and then imports them to Los Angeles, where the production is done. New for holiday, Guido introduced a rayon Lycra knit sweater with screen-printed graphics, such as the red dolman sweater with floral prints. There's also denim rompers, mesh dresses with velvet crochet details and stretch twill leggings with gold Lurex.

"People really love that they can come to us for new fabrics that they haven't seen before," Guido said. "That's what sets us apart."

At Karoo Mark Eisen, the brand came to the show with its full collection of pants, a new product category.

"We tested them a bit for spring and they did really well," said Susie Lehr, a sales representative for the company. "Now, we'll start testing denim and expand the pants line."

The new collection of pants is meant to work well with the range of knits for which Eisen is known. There are jersey seamless skinny pants, which Lehr called "the next legging," light-weight wool skinny pants and wool cashmere trousers, as well as cuffed trousers and flat-front high-waisted trousers.

"Going forward, the pants will become less tailored and more edgy," Lehr said.

Next up, the company is working on a line of outerwear that will sell exclusively at Intermix for fall.

"We do great business with Intermix, so we are always happy to give products a test there before we open it up to other stores," she explained.

The Karoo line wholesales from $98 to $140 for pants and $120 to $190 for sweaters.

For Cris, a cashmere-based line, designer and founder Cristiana Proietti said that interesting sleeve details are hot for holiday.

"Sleeves are a big trend this season and we have incorporated balloon sleeves, cutting both at elbow length as well as long, into the collection," she explained. "We have a variety of neutral colors such as heather grey, white and camel working back into red, orange, green and blue."The best-booking pieces at Intermezzo were a cowl-neck angora sweater in black woven with silver metallic thread and in cream, woven with gold metallic thread. The Cris line wholesales from $72 to $165.

At the Kooba booth, buyers couldn't get enough of the metallic leather bags. Jennifer Kroog, marketing director, said the Pamela bag, an Eighties-inspired hobo, booked well as did many other styles in metallics such as pewter, gunmetal patent leather and gold. As for the new apparel line, retailers were attracted to the shine there, too, such as the patent leather hoodie jacket in black as well as the tan trench jacket.

"It's new for us and stores seem to really like what they see," Kroog said. "People are really reacting to the soft leather vests and distressed leather jackets."

The Kooba line wholesales from $125 to $375.

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