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Designer & Agents Show Highlights Resort Trends

Dresses, jackets and tunics still key

NEW YORK — The dress continues, but come resort, they are often long and full-skirted, at least for several contemporary labels at Designers & Agents.

The show’s holiday and resort edition, which ended its three-day run at the Starrett-Lehigh building on Tuesday, was, as usual, a small affair. That said, there were plenty of trends between the 40 or so labels on display, including a continuation of the jacket and tunics, ethnic embroidery, jumpsuits, polkadots and colorful prints such as tie-dyes, dip-dyes and ombrés.

Henri Bendel vice president and fashion director Ann Watson cited S-Sung, where she found some of the “freshest assortment of cotton-printed dresses,” as a D&A highlight.

“I also loved seeing the continuation of the jacket, the whole pink palette for resort, the polkadots, seeing freshness in prints,” Watson said. “In the more casual market, we are seeing ombrés, and tie-dyes and dip-dyes continue.”

Helen Yi, owner of the Helen Yi boutique in Chicago, said she was looking for “easy pieces, things that you can take away and that weren’t very expensive” for resort. “Dresses continue to be important, and there was a lot of layering on the contemporary level, particularly this new minimal layered look.”

While the economy and steep gas prices continue to be a key factor with vendors and retailers, there was still business to be made at D&A.

At Development by Erica Davies, bestsellers included a gunmetal-colored tiered skirt for $125 wholesale, and a pleated georgette blouse, for $158. Kimberly Hartman, director of sales for the label, said, “We just shipped fall, and it’s selling. The buyers are encouraged and hopeful that the momentum continues.”

Barron Duquette Salon, which was recently started by Katayone Adeli and Joie alum Sean Barron, had top sellers such as silk cargo pants for $147 wholesale, a one-shoulder zebra top for $284, and a strapless, “I Dream of Jeannie”-like jumpsuit, for $134.

Also new to the show was L’Agence by the Los Angeles Marg­aret Maldonado Agency, which represents top fashion stylists, makeup artists and photographers, including Andrea Liberman; Simone Harouche, and Maryam Malakpour. The 30-piece launch resort collection was designed by Harouche and Malakpour, and inspired by the kinds of things their clients would wear, including draped black fishtail skirts, Henley dresses, and racer-back tunics. The pieces, which wholesale on average from $38 to $290, can be mixed, matched and layered. The stylist influence will rotate each season, though the spirit of the collection will remain. “We wanted to pick high-end fabrics and designs that women would love, which this season come from Maryam and Simone and their sense of the fashion world,” Dan Fishman, a partner in the label, said.

Ed Mandelbaum, who coproduces D&A with Barbara Kramer, said the show was comparable to previous August editions. “We probably had 10 percent less exhibitors than we had a year ago, but the traffic was the same,” Mandelbaum said. “People are doing business. People have to buy clothing, and stores have to shop, but they are being more picky and choosy and buying from collections that really do something for them.”