ATLANTA — The Atlanta Apparel Market’s World of Prom, which attracted buyers from as far away as Turkey and Russia, put an accent on glamour, from big floral prints and bohemian looks to feathers and crop tops.
Fashion celebrity Carson Kressley showed his favorites, including pastels, stretch fabrics, metallics, lace, geometric designs and beaded or embroidered bodices, at the show that ended its four-day run on Sunday. Dress lengths ranged from short to tea length and long. Top colors were red, black, neutrals and pastels.
“Red carpet is the prom look,” said Courtney Wetzel, owner of Pancsofar’s Bridal Boutique in Presque Isle, Maine. “It’s ultraglamorous, sexy and more mature than prom has ever been.”
Designer Sherri Hill said Taylor Swift is a big influence because “she encourages girls to have more confidence.”
Morgan Ramage, fashion manager at Americas Mart, said, “Swift is setting the trends for the junior set.”
Retailers also came to buy holiday, resort and early spring merchandise. Trends included masculine looks, such as full pants and wide-leg trousers, and A-line skirts, stripes, jumpsuits and pantsuits, said Ramage.
Newness at Sherri Hill included prints — mostly large florals and boho looks.
“We did a lot of prints this year and they’re our own designs,” Hill said.
At Mori Lee, key fabrics were stretch taffeta, lace and jersey, done in pastels and hot pink, gold and silver combinations, and micro beading, said Angela Brereton, marketing manager.
Designer Tony Bowls said he went more fashion-forward for 2016.
“I’m taking the daywear customer into night with trendy and wider pants, and tops with Aztec beading, cutout backs and geometric shapes in beading,” he said.
Amber Gears, manager of Glitz!, based in Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., bought the latest trends mainly from Sherri Hill, Jovani and Mori Lee. She added that business is stable, but “the problem is the knock-off dresses…and the Internet.”
Pancosofar’s Wetzel said her sales fell last year because of the decreased value of the dollar in Canada, near her store. She bought about 20 percent less for the store, but is opening a new one, Blush, in Bangor.
“We’re increasing our buy drastically because of the new store,” she added.
Pauletta Wilson, owner of Lara’s Bridal & Formal in Ashland, Ky., and Tina Ziobro, owner of Ziobro’s, Princeton, Ky., bought red carpet looks, and Ziobro also bought a few dresses in a Neoprene fabric.
In the regular market, Bill Womac, co-owner of Boyd Thomas Clothing in Maryville, Tenn., ordered only spring, including flowing tops, dresses, stripes and prints, and boyfriend shirts. His sales decreased this spring, so he has cut spring buying 20 percent, adding, “We’re taking a more cautious approach to see if it was a temporary glitch.”
Linda Mayher, owner of Wynnifred Style Studio in Columbus, Ga., bought holiday, resort that can push into spring, and filled in on slim and flared denim for fall. She also picked up Lilla P dresses and tops, and Evolution sportswear.