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NEW YORK — With 92 collections on display, this season’s Atelier Designers trade show offered just about everything — from dresses to jewelry — to fill a boutique.
This story first appeared in the October 1, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The show, which ended its three-day run Sept. 15 at the Doubletree Hotel in Times Square, also marked the first time the show was combined with the Pacific Designer Collection trade show under one corporate umbrella.
“We were always sister shows, so when Ann McKenna, producer of Pacific, decided to retire from the trade show business we decided to take it on,” said Susan Summa, producer of Atelier. “To the retailers, they’ve really always seen it as one show anyway, so it seemed like a natural move.”
Retailers like State Lawrence, co-owner of Clad In stores in Mystic and Stonington, Conn., and in Newport, R.I., said he never misses Atelier.
“My wife is the shopper, so she’s the one placing orders here,” he said. “But it’s always such an important show for us.”
Lawrence was also at the show as a showroom representative for Ray Harris, who was visiting from London. His suite was busy with buyers who were picking up his signature crinkled polyester dresses, jackets and scarves in colors like deep purple, green, black, white, orange and tan.
“We’ve always done so well with Ray Harris in our stores, so that’s why we decided to represent him in our showroom,” Lawrence said. “The pieces are great for traveling and look good on so many women. And, the prices are also very good, which helps in this economy.”
The Ray Harris collection wholesales between $30 for a scarf and $400 for a bistretch polyester jacket.
Meanwhile, jewelry designer Abra Gorby was attending her second Atelier show, exhibiting her Abra Couture collection of silver and gold wire-wrapped necklaces, earrings and bracelets made with semiprecious stones, glass and mother-of-pearl.
“I use a lot of glass to add shine to each piece, but it also keeps the prices down instead of using more expensive crystals,” Gorby said. “That’s something really important these days.”
Gorby traveled to New York for the show from Landenberg, Pa., where she and her husband live on an organic farm. She said it’s the tranquil surroundings and simple lifestyle that help create her jewelry, which wholesales between $35 and $135. Abra Couture has been in business since 1989 and sells in about 500 specialty stores in the U.S.
At the Spirithouse suite, owner and designer Katrin Noon was busy showing off her linen, cotton and rayon-blended pants, tops, jackets and dresses.
“I had to raise my prices for the first time in years, so I was nervous about price resistance from stores,” she said. “But it’s been good and customers still see the value in these clothes.”
The Spirithouse collection, which is based in Los Angeles, wholesales between $98 and $210.