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Colorful Fall Inspires Buyers in Atlanta

Strong trends, luxury fabrics peak interest.

ATLANTA — Bright colors and metallics were the top draws for retailers buying fall apparel at the Atlanta Apparel Mart show, which ended its four-day run on June 10.

Specialty retailers focused on brightly colored tops in jewel tones to wear with jeans and leggings this fall, with colors reflecting a regal and antiquelike feel in fiery reds, peacock blue, royal purple, chocolate, spice and golden yellows. Retailers also wanted layering looks, as well as florals, tweed, lace and ruffles.

“Color and the metallics make you feel good,” said Kaye Davis, executive director of fashion at AmericasMart.

Retailers’ sales continue to rise over 2011 and they are upbeat about fall and holiday.

“Our business is up about 10 percent this year and we’re optimistic for the rest of the year,” said Todd Albaum, director and buyer at Scarlett Plus Boutique in Charlotte, N.C. “The signs are better this year.”

Terri Jackson, co-owner of Just the Thing in Atlanta, said, “The fashion is fun and it’s fun for all ages. And there will be color for fall, which will make it even better.”

Sara Guice and Miranda Boyle, sisters and co-owners of Thread on Grandview in Grandview, Ohio, said their 1,500-square-foot boutique that opened in January is exceeding expectations.

“We’ve been able to bring in lines that aren’t yet in Ohio, including European lines, and we’re bringing in smaller designers like Hutch, Annie Griffin and Britt Ryan, and we just picked up Kirribilla,” said Guice.

Amy Hill, owner of the Amy J. Hill showroom, said 85 percent of her business was all new. Dana Melton, co-owner of the Lori Veith showroom, said he had several new lines, including Vintage Collection, Estelle & Finn and Donna Ricco, and was pleased with the reaction.

“I’m encouraged about business,” he said. “I see good opportunities.”

Most retailers were still buying for fall deliveries. Just the Thing’s Jackson bought blouses in jewel tones — teal, dark fuchsia, cobalt blue and emerald green — as well as leggings, colored denim, dresses and tunic tops. She also picked up holiday dresses with gold metallic and gold sequin trim.

Like other retailers, she found new lines for her stores, including Miilla dresses, tops and sweaters and Jolie and Elizabeth dresses.

Guice and Boyle bought holiday and started resort, picking up trends such as leather leggings, sheath dresses with embellishments, dressy jackets and blazers and tight-fit black pants with a detail at the ankle.
“A lot of the luxury fabrics are back — tweed, cashmere, leather,” said Boyle. “‘Mad Men’ is influencing fashion continuing into fall.”

Scarlett Plus’ Albaum focused on fall for his store, buying layering looks in soft and mixed fabrics, bright colors in tops, light jackets with angular cuts, chunky jewelry and scarves.

Betty McGuire, buyer and manager of Caroline’s Boutique in Hilton Head, S.C., shopped for fall and immediate buys for two stores that are opening in Bowling Green, Ky., at the end of July. One targets modern misses’ customers and the other contemporary. She and Dale Augustein, owner, had already placed fall orders for the Hilton Head unit. McGuire was drawn to color for fall, too, especially reds.