RETAILERS REACH OUT TO DRESSY TEENS

Byline: Rusty Williamson

DALLAS — Disco divas, punks and new romantics take note: Less is more when going glam.
Seventies and Eighties recidivism, it seems, is taking a softer turn for spring.
Not to worry. Glitter, feathers, sequins, beads — and don’t forget the Day-Glo wig — all have their place in the strobelight, said a medley of retailers who cater to glam-conscious juniors.
Stores are planning to play up glamour, though, much in the same way that many young women are wearing it — with a hint of restraint and a focus on items.
“It’s clearly evident that the glamour clubwear trend is a major fashion influence in Europe and in the U.S.,” said Kylee Magno, buyer for junior tops at Montgomery Ward, Chicago.
“Juniors are paying more attention to detail when they’re going out at night. Bare tops, stretch and synthetic bottoms and body-conscious styles are important, along with black, silver and shots of brights such as red and pink. And the ‘Saturday Night Fever’ musical heading for Broadway will certainly help make the trend stronger.”
Ward’s plans to emphasize glam with in-store boutiques and color preprint mailers and store circulars, added Vanessa Anderson, buyer for junior tops.
“We feel that the glamour trend will continue well into next year,” Anderson said.
The first preprint, called Disco Divas, drops in October and spotlights junior clubwear looks such as glitter and mesh halters, slinky tube tops and tie-front shirts, denim and Lurex flares and hipsters and strapless minidresses with 15-inch hemlines.
Vendors include Anxiety Cafe, Jalate, Self Esteem, Bubble Gum, Liquid, Zinc, Jump and Steppin’ Out.
Retail prices max at $29.99 for tops, $37.99 for bottoms and $59.99 for dresses, with an average of $24.99 per item.
“Juniors are responding to novelty and embellishment with a price-to-value mind-set,” added Kurt Ziegler, director of trend merchandise at Ward’s. “They’re not responding to basics. She’s replacing basic with novelty. As a result, the juniors category is charting gains.”
Ward’s, with 252 department stores across the U.S., is in the midst of an aggressive expansion and modernization program that plays up fashion and lifestyles.
J.C. Penney Co., with 1,150 units, also is courting the glam junior customer with glittery and embroidered sheers, dressy camisoles, hand-painted trims, tube tops, ballroom skirts and separates, boa-trimmed sweaters, flocked tops and slinky glitter shrugs, said Robin Schuellein, buyer for junior national brand fashion separates.
Vendors include Anxiety, Younique, Eye-Shadow, Star-City, Byer and Exact Change.
Schuellein said Penney’s is setting up “dressy” shops for the fourth quarter and said its juniors business is posting increases against a year ago.
Juniors, she noted, are buying glam looks as items, especially when budgets are a consideration. As an example, she cited a glam top that might be worn with a basic black bottom already in a young woman’s wardrobe.
Penney’s plans to advertise and market glam in national preprint circulars and give them space in its new youth-oriented magazine, Noise.
Target Stores, a division of Dayton Hudson Corp., also is merchandising glam as an item business, said Anne Cashill, design manager for ready-to-wear.
“We’re offering the glam trend in a very subtle way with embellished angora sweaters, embroidered gauze tops, mirrored peasant looks, gold ribbon and thread detailing and jeweled hair accessories, all under its in-house Xhilaration label.
“Glam is a fun way for juniors to add a little sparkle to their wardrobes,” said Cashill.
Specialty stores that cater to fashion-forward juniors and nightclubbers are interpreting glamour with an alternative edge.
Moda, a women’s and men’s specialty store in Dallas’s Deep Ellum neighborhood, which is evocative of New York’s East Village, takes an iconoclastic view of glamour.
“Glamour clubwear is highly sophisticated. It also becomes very intellectual, because customers really think about how to interpret and individualize the trend so that they stand out from the crowd,” said Donny Moda, owner.
“Glam can be disco geisha girls with short dresses from labels like Xing or Sushi and Saki by Bill Holman, elegant Victorian and Gothic layered velvet dresses from Begotten, vinyl, leather and lace styles from Lip Service, and very low-key looks such as denim jeans worn with a glitz top,” explained Moda, who’s been in business 14 years.
“We’re also starting to see military glam with leather and high heels, New Mexico Indian princess glam with lots of feathers and bead fringe,” he added.
Moda said price isn’t a primary consideration as long as the look is right, noting that some Gothic and Victorian dresses retail for up to $400.
“They’re also buying brightly colored two-tone wigs shaped in bobs, glittery makeup, Oriental platform boots and anything with fur trim,” he added.

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