By  on November 2, 2005

MADRID — The wave of femininity that washed over the spring season was not lost on the biannual apparel fair, known as SIMM, held here in September.

Key trends at the SIMM-sponsored runway presentations, Pasarela Cibeles, were superfeminine dresses and softer edges overall; shirring and pleats; knee-hovering lengths; swing skirts; the Sixties and sleeveless shifts; incongruous fabric combos; a palette of black-for-day/white-for-night, in some cases, and bright lollipop shades or powdered neutrals such as putty, taupe, mocha and cinnamon. Giant feed bags and high-heel sandals with wraparound ankle straps on platform bottoms were among the dominant accessories.

Veteran exhibitor Elisa Cortés cited "more [new] clients than usual, particularly from Mexico and Chile." Skirts with black-and-white botanical motifs and colorful, patterned sundresses sold better than pants "because femininity is a big trend."

Cortés' 16-year-old eponymous label is distributed through 120 domestic points of sale and three company-owned and franchised stores, in Seville, Granada and Puerto de Santa Maria in Spain's sherry region, where the firm is based. In addition, 55 percent of Cortés' revenue is generated by export markets, and she has a network of agents, mainly in the U.K., Ireland, the Netherlands and Germany.

"We had a good show with positive reaction from local multibrand stores, but traffic was soft," said Yolanda Moreno Ruiz of shirt maker Mirto, based here. She reported visits from Hong Kong and South Korean retailers, but, in general, few foreigners.

Narrow, feminine silhouettes with embroideries, rendered in dress fabrics such as shantung, were "taking off," she said. Hot colors for spring were yellow, purple, citrus, grass green and turquoise.

Mirto produces 300,000 men's shirts each season and 30,000 for the four-year-old women's line, which wholesales from 40 euros, or $50 at current exchange, to 60 euros, or $75. The U.S. remains a premier market and Mexico is an up-and-comer.

Held in six halls of the Juan Carlos I fairgrounds here, SIMM is the second- largest apparel show in Europe, after Düsseldorf's CPD. According to IFEMA, the event's organizer, vendors totaled 1,009 — an increase of 49, or about 5 percent, over last year. They spread over 362,000 square feet, an additional 3.4 percent of floor space.

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