By  on April 11, 2005

DALLAS — The first anniversary of FashionCenterDallas at the World Trade Center here was marked by strong traffic and orders at the four-day market ended April 3.

Sales representatives said business met or exceeded the results of an outstanding debut show a year ago. However, some retailers were not as optimistic in their approach, with budgets running from slight decreases to small gains reflecting solid but not spectacular results for spring.

“We are pleased that the attendance numbers matched last year’s record-setting markets, which included the grand opening of FashionCenterDallas,” said Cindy Morris, chief operating officer of the Dallas Market Center Co., which manages the wholesale complex.

FCD’s permanent showrooms are 98 percent leased, and the complex has seen “impressive growth” in its temporary exhibits, particularly the juried Scene show, she said. The DMC’s experiment to overlap the fashion market with the gift and home show earned mixed reviews. Some buyers felt it was convenient, while others said it was tough to get everything done and parking was difficult. Initial feedback was positive, the DMC said, and while it’s still seeking more input from retailers and exhibitors, it is likely that the shows will coincide again next March.

Embellishment ruled again, sparked by crystals, sequins, beads, embroidery and lace. Retailers said shoppers have responded well to the sparkle in spring clothes.

“It’s all about the details right now, the little things that take it from being ordinary to special,” said Brad Johnson, owner of Ambrosia showroom, as he inverted the cuff on a Robert Graham tailored shirt to reveal a contrasting print.

Glam rock and rodeo influences infected denim and casual tops, spicing them up with floral-and-vine sparkle or themed embroidery and appliqués. Small studs dotted leather jackets — 2,000 of them on one number from Double D Ranchwear.

Jackets made a big impact, especially hip-length, fitted styles accented by two or four pockets and touches of embellishment. They were cut from luxurious brocade, velvet and bouclé fabrics, reflecting an abundance of texture. In addition, knee-length pedal pushers won kudos as a welcome variation on the cropped pant.

Among the key looks were Empire-waist chiffon tunics daubed with glitter, bias-cut silk charmeuse dresses and gowns and colorful printed full skirts accented with beads, such as a bevy of styles by Basil & Maude. Real and fake-fur jackets and trims remained important, often in novelty colors.

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