NEW YORK -- Short and long hemlines, fake fur and metallic looks have been getting attention for immediate and fall selling at the International Fashion Boutique Show here.
The four-day show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center closes today.
Approximately 1,600 vendors, about the same as a year ago, are on hand, according to The Larkin Group, the show producer. They are showing a wide range of merchandise, from mainstream items such as classic knit dresses to the offbeat and outrageous, such as miniskirts in rubber and HotPants in psychedelic-colored fake fur.
Retailers appear to be responding, as some vendors talked about double-digit gains in bookings compared with a year ago. An improving economic climate was given a lot of the credit.
"I'm looking for velvet dresses and anything with fake fur," noted Pam Majors, the owner of an Atlanta boutique called Junkman's Daughter, which does a big business in vintage apparel as well as in new goods. She noted she had just spent $8,000, mostly on baby-doll velvet dresses at the Tripp Inc. booth.
"Business has been very good for us," she said.
Also upbeat was Louis Ceruzzi, a buyer with an Atlanta retailer called Physikos, who was buying woven crepe and cotton jacquard shirts at Tag Rag for its new second store in the Atlanta area.
"I'm looking for forward-looking and cutting-edge items, like industrial fabrics, and we're definitely not inspired by retro trends," said Ceruzzi, who himself looked cutting-edge with his Mohawk, neon green knee-length stretch shorts and heavy boots.
Tag Rag -- a Los Angeles resource displaying kilts, slipdresses and floral granny dresses -- was making its Boutique Show debut in the new aisle reserved for streetwear vendors.
"We're getting a lot of interest from buyers in both short and long dresses, but definitely not knee-length," said Gina Kohler, national sales manager at Tag Rag.
Stopping traffic at the booth of House of Field, a sales representative here, were four models wearing metallic 10-inch platform shoes, neon orange hot pants and pointed fur caps.
"We're into feathers, fake fur, anything spacy and bondage fashions," said Susan Balcums, Field's showroom director.At the other end of the fashion spectrum, Nina Sitkovetsy, president of El-Ana, Huntington Valley, Pa., a maker of special occasion dresses, said: "Buyers are coming here looking for classic dresses in soft colors like ivory."
She expects her sales at the current Boutique Show to be up 35 percent compared with last year's edition. Among her bestsellers were lace-trimmed knit dresses hitting right above the knee, wholesaling for about $295.
"Heavily sequined dresses are definitely out," said Sitkovetsy. Other booths, though, were showing a lot of sequins, but in new design patterns.
"We're staying away from the broken glass pattern because it's passÄ, and instead we are working on more interesting details," noted Erik Hansen, Midwest sales director at Creative Imports, Lisle, Ill., pointing to clusters of sequins on the bodice of some baby-doll dresses.
Scoopneck dresses in wool blend tweeds were reported among the top sellers at Femme, a Brooklyn dress resource, where owner Anthony Pomarat was enthusiastic about the sales pace.
"The first day of the show was twice as good as the first day last year," he said.
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