By  on May 15, 2007

NEW YORK — Designers were all about texture at the Nouveau Collective trade show.

The show, which ran May 6 to 9 at the New Yorker hotel, attracted some 2,000 buyers who purchased fall lines from 418 labels, including Forwear/AZI Jeans, Serena Kay, Gerties, Tianello, Mycra Pac, Toupy, Donna Morgan, LA Blend, Surrealist, Insight and Pure Handknit.

Although texture and novelty fabrics dominated as autumn trends, black and chocolate brown held their own as staples for fall collections. Shades of purple and wine were evident and, as far as denim was concerned, the wider the better.

Lace, chenille and velvet were the most popular fabrics at Surrealist, especially in their best-selling three-quarter- and short-sleeved True tops, which come in more than 60 colors and fabrics, wholesaling for $29. Another hit for the Valencia, Calif.-based brand were rouched long skirts in cotton jersey, wholesaling for $59, which, designer Mary Larson said, "we can't cut fast enough." Surrealist can be found at Arlene Bowman, a Bleecker Street boutique here, and the Boston Proper catalogue.

"Purple is the new black," said Eileen Bach of Donna Morgan, who added that fall is the season of color for the brand that has more than doubled its business in the past year. Popular fall items have been the matte jersey and silk charmeuse dresses, which are available in an array of colors and prints. The dresses wholesale from $59 for the matte jersey to $79 for silk. Purple and violet are the best-selling colors for fall. The belted sheath dress in a red-and-black diamond print also was a favorite of buyers, but in terms of color, red and black always do well, Bach said.

With wide-leg jeans on the rise, many women are relieved that they no longer have to squeeze into the superskinny jeans that have been popular in the past year. AZI Jeans is embracing this trend with its wide-leg jean, selling about 2,000 pairs during the four-day trade show, said Joseph Yeganeh of Forwear and AZI Jeans. Crinkled denim was another hit for the fall. "It is the hottest thing in Italy and Germany," Yeganeh said. "We are the first to introduce it to the United States."Marjorie Tuttle is the owner-buyer for Art and Soul, a specialty boutique in Washington. Although hesitant to drop names, she dresses congresswomen and White House staffers. As a regular buyer at Nouveau Collective, Tuttle is a loyal patron of Mycra Pac (reversible raincoats with matching totes that come in a variety of novelty fabrics are popular), Tianello and Gerties. For fall, Tuttle bought items in black, chocolate, charcoal gray, olive and burgundy, but no real "punchy colors."

Marcy Schwait, owner/buyer of the boutique Marcy G in Cherry Hill, N.J., raved about BKG's sweater line, Insight's pants and Serena Kay's patent leather raincoats. BKG's sweaters, which retail from $80 to $120, are one-size-fits-all, although they carry some sweaters in a "mini fit" and others that are more oversized and machine-washable. "I look for items, and it's kind of whatever hits me, but the Insight pants I buy every season. They are phenomenal, they wear like iron," Schwait said. "They are a staple in the store, the women love them." The Insight pants at Marcy G retail for around $135.

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