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Buyers Downsize at Dallas’ Fashion Industry Gallery

The emphasis is on purchasing smaller, more focused lines.

DALLAS — Buyers took a conservative approach to order writing at Fashion Industry Gallery’s market here, booking smaller and more focused holiday immediates, resort and early spring merchandise.

Concentrating on casual styles and midknee and shorter summer dresses, most retailers voiced concern about the economy at the four-day market that ended Oct. 26.

Classic black, gray, red, white and navy tones were most popular for holiday and evening dresses, as well as luxe fashion items such as vests and classic-cut trousers. Jewel-tone and tropical brights starred for resort, along with spring and summer dresses, capri pants and shorts.

Designers used subtle touches of embellishment, including lace trims, beaded lapels and collars, layered and embroidered skirts and tiny pleats to give a buoyant, youthful vibe to collections. There was a cavalcade of prints, from urban-inspired subway maps on short tank dresses to flirty florals on jackets and retro-inspired paisleys that flashed back to the Sixties.

“With the financial markets as mercurial as they are, one can’t be too sure of anything these days, so we were quite pleased that traffic held steady from October ’07 and that our permanent tenants were positive about the number and the quality of the buyers they saw and the orders that were written,” said Shelli Mers, FIG director.

FIG’s guest designer, Erica Davies, whose label is Development by Erica Davies, showcased her spring and summer line in the Shop juried show on the second floor.

The Los Angeles-based line was launched three seasons ago and is having controlled growth across the U.S. with women’s contemporary and designer stores. Davies is a partner in the line with investor Vince Camuto.

“We’ve shown the line to several important retailers and they appreciate my look, which combines luxury fabrics, some retro elegance with sheer draping, beautiful colors and the synergies of tomboy and feminine styles,” Davis said.

Retailers such as Steve Aberson, owner of Aberson’s, a specialty store in Tulsa, Okla., said, “I was pleased at the offerings at FIG. I bought from two lines that I normally get at New York markets, and most of the Los Angeles-based designers are here.”

Aberson bought Chan Luu accessories, including leather and muted-stone bracelets, and Christopher Blue yellow, white and sand-colored denim cropped and capri pants with trend detailing and a forgiving fit.

Yardley Bowen, owner of Cielo Boutique, a contemporary store in San Antonio, bought tops and knee-length and shorter dresses in bright colors and body-conscious silhouettes from Marcia Moran, men’s wear-inspired vests and blazers to create a layered look from Elizabeth and James and layering T-shirts in bright prints and solid colors from Monrow.

“We opened last year and are doing OK despite the economy, which most women talk about but they still buy if the fashion is enticing and fills a need in their wardrobes,” Bowen said. “We also learned early on to do lots of special events such as wardrobe and style parties to show off new seasonal looks. It keeps a focus on the unique offerings at our store.”