NOVELTY LOOKS LURE HOTLINE BUYERS
Byline: Anne D’Innocenzio
NEW YORK — With their confidence ignited by what they described as a strong holiday season, buyers from an array of upscale stores were ordering such looks as novelty linen dresses and better-price knit tops at Hotlines, a trade show that touted 150 contemporary resources. The three-day stint, which is in its fourth edition and was held at The Rihga Royal Hotel, ended Tuesday.
Good traffic was a surprise for many vendors and show officials, considering the snowy conditions. The buoyant mood among some retailers was equally pleasing.
“I’ve had my best season yet,” said Marnie Adams, owner of Kap Siki, an upscale women’s clothing store based in Boca Raton, Fla.
“With the stock market boom, people with money have more money. We were blowing out $1,800 chiffon coats,” she said
Adams was spotted snapping up white gauze fashions, including easy pants and tunics, from Pamela Maugile, a resource from Los Angeles, which was represented by Heart & Soul by Ellen Perry Harris. Maugile’s line wholesales from $35 to $150.
“I am looking to buy clothes that will take my customer into summer,” said Adams.
Another one on a buying spree was Carla Scalish, owner of Carla Sachi, a high-end boutique in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, which she started up five years ago.
“I carry a lot of European fashions, but I am looking to complement the offerings with some American pieces,” said Scalish, who bought sweaters from a variety of lines, including Eggplant, a sportswear resource based in Glenside, Pa., as well as those in pastel hues from Go Lightly, based here.
“Last year was my best year yet,” she said. “We doubled our business. There have been many small stores going out of business in my area, and I have been benefiting from that.”
Scalish also added that the best-selling items have been those at the highest price points.
“People are interested in the most luxe things,” she said. “My price points range from $400 to $1,600, but I am definitely seeing that those priced at $800 and up are selling the best.” Another buyer pleased with her holiday business was Caitlin O’Leary, president of Nuevo Mundo, a clothing store in Alexandria, Va. She reported that business was up 14 percent for the season.
“I am interested in linens with novelty textures,” said O’Leary, who was buying for immediate through May deliveries.
O’Leary also noted that she had just purchased some opal raincoats from Maralyce Ferree, Portland, Maine.
Penny Viagneur, of Copper Penney, Mount Pleasant, N.C., was scouting for “great dresses” and “easy-to-wear linens.” She, too, said she had a great season, noting that business was up 15 percent for holiday.
The mood and buying left exhibitors in a good frame of mind.
Eggplant scored with linen shirts, sheaths, vests, and jumpers in oatmeal, according to Susan Gamble, designer. The line wholesales from $70 to $100. Janell Beals, a Chicago resource, did well with jacquard dresses in white rayon acetate, as well as faille jackets paired with long straight cotton knit skirts, according to the designer.
Designer Maureen Keene got attention from buyers with oversized tops in zebra-texture, shown with black cotton knit pants, as well as white column dresses with silk bow details, according to Keene, who is headquartered in Weehawken, N.J.
Fit and flair dresses in cotton knit with coordinating jackets were also among the items that booked well, she said. The line wholesales from $30 to $85. “The past couple of days I have booked a lot of paper,” she said. “We got a lot of new stores in new territories, like Palm Springs, Nantucket and Hyannis.”