Byline: Melanie Kletter

NEW YORK — The Accessories Council and Safilo Group took a fantasy trip to Italy for a recent fund-raising event and industry party.
The event, held at the new Safilo showroom during March market week, drew an eclectic crowd of industry executives and celebrities, including Frederico Castellucio, who plays Furio on “The Sopranos” and MTV veejay and talk-show host Ananda Lewis.
Among the industry honchos were Abe Shehebar and Todd Kahn, chairman and president, respectively, of Accessory Network; Michael Schultz, chief executive officer of Lulu Guiness; Steven Roberts, co-president of Echo Designs, and Ed Jankowski, chief operating officer of the Solstice eyewear chain.
Guests bid on 37 lots, including offerings from Kate Spade, Christian Dior, Avon, Gucci, Burberry, Coach and Valentino. A portion of the funds raised at the event will benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, said Sheila Block, executive director of the council.
The mood was lively, as guests sipped bellinis and talked about new trends for fall.
“Buyers are feeling more upbeat right now,” said Elaine Gold, owner of scarf firm Collection XIIX. “Anything soft and fluffy is selling well.”
Helen Welsh, the showroom owner who just launched a line of accessories under her own name, said fall trends are focused on “equestrian chic” looks. Welsh said, “Scarves are back and hats remain a strong trend.”
Claudio Gottardi, president and ceo of Safilo USA, said he was also feeling good about the season, judging from early reactions to fall product in the eyewear market.
“I believe the North American economy is going to come out of the recession and have a great second half,” Gottardi said. “People are feeling more confident and are ready to buy. Our new offerings reflect that, with more novelty looks and a new color palette.”

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