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NEW YORK — Exhibitors were spirited while buyers remained cautious at the Accessorie Circuit and AccessoriestheShow fairs, which took place over three days here last week.

This story first appeared in the May 11, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

While the shows were designated for fall, many retailers were shopping closer to season, looking for spring and summer pieces with immediate deliveries, and vendors came prepared.

“Items are selling, but our stores are ordering less and reordering more often, so for us, it’s about having a fast turnaround, good pricing and good design,” said Nadia Lee, sale representative for Adia Kibur.

The firm’s bib and jersey necklaces and feathered hair accessories are top sellers at Neiman Marcus Cusp and at specialty boutiques.

“Buyers are looking for…items that make a statement,” Lee said. “They are pulling back on apparel so they’re looking for well-priced accessories and fast delivery.”

Bruce Maclear, director of sales at Jessica Kagan Cushman, also noted his retailers were shopping for items they could put in stores in six weeks. The brand recently launched tote bags with cheeky phrases that read “My other bag is Louis Vuitton” or “Does this bag make me look fat” that Maclear said were hits starting at $18 wholesale.

“Retailers are ordering more cautiously, but they’re ordering a larger range to see what will work for them,” Maclear said. “They’re also ordering much closer to season — they want immediates. So that means we have to order more cautiously and streamline our production so we can rush orders.”

Charlotte Dyslin, manager of U.S. and Europe for hat firm Helen Kaminski, said she is doing a far greater spring-summer business than last May, noting buyers are mixing the higher-priced pieces with those in the midrange.

“Buyers are ordering closer to their need, clothing is slow and they’re picking up accessories to spark their spring and summer business,” Dyslin said. “That means for us, we need to commit far in advance and plan our orders early.”

Susan Angert, owner of Susan’s Jewelry in Weston, Fla., said she was looking for trends from designers such as Gerard Yosca and Nakama.

“I’m looking for accessories that are different, that are fun, fashionable and fabulous from designers who incorporate their own design and vision,” she said.

Angert was walking the show with her sister Stacey Levinson, who owns clothing store Brittons in Columbus, S.C.

“My business is ladies clothing, but I want to accessorize the clothing with jewelry that can relate back to the clothes,” Levinson said. “I really want things that are modern and I want a reason to buy. This year it’s become more important to update a wardrobe with trend pieces like scarves and belts.”

Designers are also focused on designing pieces with lower price points. Raquel Moreno, a jewelry designer based in Brazil, said she worked hard to make her prices “more attractive” for her buyers.

“The show has been good compared with past seasons, as customers in some of the most sophisticated stores appreciate this [lower price points], as well as the personality of the brand,” Moreno said.

Roseanne Karmes, designer of Sydney Evan jewelry, reported having a good show and her buyers picked up her lower-priced beaded and braided pieces rounding out her offerings.

“They are happy to see some of my styles wholesaling at $100,” Karmes said. “Although all of my high-end stores are doing well with the line as it’s trend and price point driven.”

In legwear, Look from London designer Tony Taylor reported high sales of colored sheer tights in coral and turquoise. He said leggings were still faring strongly, as well as lace for fall.

At Leg Resource, sales manager Nancy Felgueiras said Betsey Johnson legwear was selling well, specifically colored opaques, layered open work tights and sheers. John Flynn, vice president of sales at Levante and Me Moi Legwear, said the brand was having a strong show, specifically in terms of shapewear sales and interest in Eco Moi, Me Moi’s new eco-friendly line with bamboo cotton.

At the International Fashion Jewelry and Accessory Show, some 120 exhibitors showcased mass jewelry lines for wholesalers and private label clients. The 57-year-old show was founded in Providence, R.I., where it also takes place, as well as in Orlando. Show director Michael Gale said the show was stronger than last year’s and had good signs of turnout.

“Considering the economy, we are pleased,” Gale said. “This is an order-writing show with pieces sold by the dozens. We attract a good group of buyers who are ready to buy.”