By  on October 3, 2007

NEW YORK — Lifestyle brands at the Atelier Designer Collections embraced the casual comfort aesthetic customarily found at the show, while a slew of international companies exhibited more avant-garde designs.

Atelier, which ran from Sept. 16 to 18 at the Double Tree Suites Hotel here, covered 85 collections, including Blanque, Treadle Design Room, Mashiah Arrive, Itemz, Caz/Jane Mohr Designs and Ahni & Co. There were 17 new exhibitors, including BNG and Genevieve Primavera, and 21 international collections from Japan, Canada, England, France, Belgium, Germany, Israel, Turkey and India, according to Susan Summa, the show's director.

"We have some very understated neutrals that are noncolors, but still have a mysterious quality like fog or mist, or a slight bit of blue or green. As usual, because this group is all about color, we've got color all over the place. We're seeing fewer greens and more in the pink and orange families," said Summa. "As always, we've got a black and white story. I can't ever remember a spring where we didn't have a black and white story, it just carries throughout the whole building. Most of our international designers have very little color, they are still very structured, very urban and you will see a lot more black and white stories from them, with maybe a little bit of pale taupe and gray."

Summa also cited dresses in shapes that tend to be more form-fitting and jackets in every fabric, including crinkled silk, painted materials, linens and brocades, as additional trends for spring. "We are seeing more body-conscious silhouettes and a lot of waists on the dresses and the jackets," she said.

BNG is a line from Istanbul that mixes its minimalist approach with pieces that are avant-garde, without losing the wearability factor. The bestseller in the line was a black, floor-sweeping taffeta kimono jacket, complete with a sash and exaggerated ruffle around the hemline, which also could be worn as a dress, wholesaling for $125. Other popular items were a black jersey dress with a leather belt and a cotton-metal blend trenchcoat with oversize mother-of-pearl buttons, wholesaling for $76 and $214, respectively. BNG is currently carried at Harari, with four locations, in Southern California and Arizona, Adelaide in Chicago and Two and Company in Port Arthur, Tex.Carolyn and Dee Dugas, co-owners of Two and Company, are fans of BNG. "The collection sells to the piece, absolutely everything," said Carolyn Dugas. "Every single item that I picked is just great. I'm buying almost everything in the collection. Their leather, their organza, the silk taffeta is great. It's all wonderful."

Judith Mervine, owner of the Chesterton, Ind., store Glad Rags, said, "For spring, I bought a lot of chartreuse and black linen and an abundance of great white shirts. When you find one with a pointy collar that dips down so low, we screamed."

Mervine purchased pieces from Blanque, Itemz and Genevieve Primavera, the San Francisco-based line responsible for the creation of the aforementioned blouse.

Mary Elizabeth Primavera, designer of one-year-old brand Genevieve Primavera, compared her best-selling Executive blouse, which also doubles as a dress if paired with leggings or opaque tights, to wearing one's husband's or boyfriend's shirt. "You know that kind of sexy, woman's take on men's wear? Sleeves are also important to me, I love the exaggerated cuffs," she said. The shirt has an exaggerated pointed collar and wholesales for $74.

"The collar," said Primavera with a pause. "It's pilgrim-meets-the nightclubs."

At Treadle Design Room, tailored blazers and jackets were available in a multitude of updated styles and fabrics for spring. The best-selling spring pattern was inspired by a bold, floral watercolor painting, according to Sandra Remy and Rosemary Boldt, co-owners. The ivory-based floral print sold extremely well in both the Newport, a cropped little swing jacket that wholesales for $146, and the Trench, a three-button convertible collar coat with three-quarter-length sleeves that wholesales for $164, they said.

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