A COLORFUL SPRING AT BOUTIQUE SHOW
Byline: Karen Parr
NEW YORK — Buyers wanted bright colors for spring and eye-catching trims on immediate and holiday goods as they shopped the International Fashion Boutique Show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center here last week.
Streetwear was a draw for buyers in need of at-once deliveries, and they sought looks that could catch attention as gifts or holiday dressing. One top idea was fur or fake fur trims. Embroideries and unusual detailing, such as Mandarin collars, also ranked high.
Retailers on the hunt for spring goods went for mixed fabric treatments, such as linen and cotton, and vivid hues.
While exhibitors noted there were some quiet hours in their booths, they also reported some busy ones as well. The four-day show ended last Tuesday. According to Jonathan Larkin, president of show producer The Larkin Group, about 7,500 buyers turned out, an increase of 6 percent over a year ago. There were 450 exhibitors representing around 580 companies. With its mid-season timing, the October edition is the smallest of the five Boutique shows held yearly.
At Tripp, a streetwear line, sales representative Nicola Gaynor noted she didn’t see the European and Japanese buyers the firm usually attracts. “Most buyers are from the tri-state area,” she said.
Nevertheless, the show registered bestsellers, in particular items that had sparkly fabric or details. Net shirts with a velvet flocking flame pattern on them were bestsellers, as were Mona Lisa print skirts, mandarin collars and embroidered items with vine patterns. At streetwear line Free Follies, sales representative Elayne Werns said “anything with fur” was selling — including fake fur trims, feather trims and mongolian lamb fur trims. Also selling were mandarin collars in all bodies and fabrics, and dresses with velvet flocking on the bottom. Average orders were $1,500 to $3,000, she said.
At dress line Putumayo, vice president Doreen Yankow said textures, solids and ethnic prints were bestsellers. She said bright or rich colors were key ideas, particularly reds, greens, browns and plums.
Like some other vendors, she said the show was quiet Saturday, then picked up Sunday. Her average orders ran from $2,500 to $4,000.
At the misses’ dress firm Flax/Angelheart, sales representative Jennifer Pawlewicz said this was the first time the firm has had “really bright colors” in the line. These included periwinkle, guava and lemon yellow. She also noted that washable linens did well.
As for the pace of the business, she said, “We’ve been doing OK.” Average orders were $5,000 per line, she said.
Among the buyers at the show, Sandy Glaeve, owner of Peacock boutique in Madison, Wis., was seeking items for immediate delivery, as she is opening a second store in November. She also wanted spring items and was visiting lines such as Putumayo and Flax.
For spring, she was looking for washable linens, which she called “a newfound wonder for a lot of women — it’s cool, it’s comfortable.” She was looking for natural tones and other soft colors, and was spending about $10,000.
Wendy Red, fashion director for the Up Against the Wall streetwear chain based in Washington, was picking up items for holiday. She was buying velvet, Lurex and “anything with fur trim,” in addition to Chinese-style flocked velvet dragon designs on different pieces and Chinese brocade skirts. She ordered the Mona Lisa print skirt from Tripp, and noted that streetwear lines Groove Girl and Free Follies were looking good. Wendy Elder, owner of Upstream Boutique in Westerly, R.I., was looking for “a lot of texture mixes,” which she found at Nannette Keller. “Textures add interest,” she said. “I’m tired of seeing the minimalist cotton. In addition, she said, “I’m looking for more body-conscious things, even for larger women. Women are tired of wearing tents.”
Elder said she found “many great colors,” such as sage, lavender and sand, and noted that the colors at the show were “prettier” than those of last spring. She planned to spend about $3,000 to $4,000. “This is not a really big buying show for me,” she said.