JUNIOR: FEMININITY RULES

Byline: Karen Parr

NEW YORK — For juniors, spring and summer dressing means only one thing: femininity.
Florals, appliques, embroidery and sheers are all part of the package.
“This feminine look is definitely coming back,” said Erica Bledsoe, designer for Lip Service, a streetwear firm in Los Angeles. “That’s what’s new, fresh and very flattering. A lot of it is very bare.”
Bledsoe said the strongest group at Lip Service is lingerie-inspired and includes lace, satin and bias-cut chiffon pieces with such detailing as slip-type shoulder straps.
At Dazy Dux in Los Angeles, owner Lina Tsai feels sheer material will continue to be the driving force.
“We have a lot of dresses in sheer with lining underneath,” she said. Colors, she added, are brighter than most — the pastels are more like mellow yellow and kelly green. Customers can choose which colors in sheers are most appropriate for their stores. For instance, the lining might be orange with a green sheer overlay.
Colored sheers will come in simple cuts in dresses, Tsai said, and the length has gone longer, to about 18 inches from the waist.
“It’s not so much funk,” she said. “Just more feminine.”
At Blue Plate, here, the India-sourced line is filled with sheers, gauze and embroidery, according to sales representative Lena Perez.
She feels these looks will be strong for spring and cited a short-sleeve V-neck with embroidered collar that was checking in December in long sleeves.
“We are very big on knits and sweaters, all very sweet-looking and feminine,” she said.
As for pants, Tsai said: “No flares for us.” Instead, the move will be toward a straighter leg in subtle prints.
At Jalate, Los Angeles, executive vice president Ted Cooper believes in flower power.
“We are going to put daisy-applique tanks, halters and T-shirts on every junior customer possible in America,” he said.
Cooper said daisy looks were hot sellers in the company’s original spring test in November and December.
“Daisies work,” he said. “It used to be sunflowers; today it’s daisies.”
He said Jalate is also “doing that Courtney Love look” with sheer mesh, in T-shirts and shells.
At Not Guilty, here, president Stephen Budd is excited about the company’s new fashion-driven label, N2.
Budd feels consumers are ready to spend for something special.
“It doesn’t have to be on sale for $19.99,” he said. “They will pay a fair price for some style.”
Not Guilty is focusing on summer and early fall, when he feels novelty denims and corduroys will be hot.
Budd predicts new silhouettes — like boot-leg pants with no waistband — and colors as being key to the success of corduroy.
At Hang Ten in South Pasadena, Calif., vice president of merchandise Suzanne Vennera feels variety will be key to the spring and summer market.
Their selections include camisoles, tanks, sleeveless T-shirts and V-necks. Also, she said, the company is doing a lot of french terry shorts and logo-driven screen prints.
She said the colors will continue to be “denim-friendly,” including shades of blue and brights, such as red, as accents.

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