By  on February 8, 1994

NEW YORK -- Gaining fans in a crowded field of trade shows is the New York Premier Collections, produced by Blenheim Fashion Shows, which unofficially bills the show as the "pret-a-porter of the U.S."

Premier Collections will mark its second year -- and third event -- with a show from Sunday to Tuesday at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center here.

The show features a number of European lines. Many buyers say they shop Europe for their established collections and head to Premier Collections to find new resources and standout items.

"I liked the layout of the show last year," said Benny Lin, fashion director for Macy's East. "There were a lot of European vendors, and the quality of vendors was good."

Lin said the show was a good start for finding direction.

"We'll keep an open mind," he said. "It's a good place to discover new people. We take notes, and when all the trends are firm, we go back to firm up orders. There are fewer venues to discover new talents."

Lin noted that last year, Macy's bought Belgium designer Xuly Bet at the show. "As far as contemporary goes," said Susan Foslien, owner of four San Francisco-area boutiques known as The Grocery Store and Susan, "Premier Collections is as good as it gets. You should be able to outfit an entire store. I look in every space so that I don't miss a thing."

Foslien said she shops the show for items, reserving Europe for her collections. She said she'll be looking for fall merchandise in plum, navy and black and is interested in textured fabrics.

Price point is not an issue at her two Susan stores, she said, but at her Grocery Stores, she likes to keep prices somewhat moderate -- T-shirts between $50 and $60 wholesale, she said.

While Foslien opened a second Grocery Store last September, which increased her open-to-buy by 50 percent, she said she is watching her buy carefully.

"I think California still has a couple of difficult seasons ahead," she said. "California is the last of the recession people. It will take some time before things really pick up. I will just try and bring in the best of everything so that we can sell out."

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