NEW YORK — Buyers heading to the New York Premier Collections show here next week have color and new twists on continuing trends — short, shine, shape and slipdresses — high on their shopping lists.
The show, produced by Blenheim Fashion Shows, opens Sunday for a three-day run at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.
The twice-yearly show, now in its third edition, will have at least 400 exhibitors, according to Marshall Lester, chief executive of Blenheim’s U.S. apparel shows. This represents an increase of 25 percent over the last edition.
The international tone of the exhibitors list will be heightened by group representations of British and Canadian apparel companies for the first time. Convenience will be another byword, with a shuttle bus from the Javits to the hotels where two other trade shows are being staged, Fashion Coterie at The Plaza and Showroom at Le Parker Meridien.
While some retailers complain about an overly abundant scheduling of trade shows, others find them increasingly helpful in giving buyers a spread of resources to shop in a concentrated space.
“Trade shows are becoming increasingly important to our clients, as people are coming into New York less and less,” said Beth Silverstein, merchandise manager for better sportswear at The Doneger Group buying office here.
Silverstein noted she will be covering the show with several buyers over the weekend.
“We’re looking for spring goods, to find new collections and trends. We think that short, flippy skirts and jumper dresses are going to be key. We’re also looking for items that show a lot of color,” she said.
“There’s lots of bright, but we need to interpret it and tone it down. Otherwise, it looks too costume-y. Aside from all the typical colors, lavender and bubblegum pink look good.”
Silverstein said that business has been “OK, not great” for many of her stores, and that budgets are about the same as last year’s.
There is a trend back toward buying collections, Silverstein noted, but item interest is still the dominant buying trend.
“There is still label identification at the bridge level,” she said. “Items are very important — anything in an A-line shape is good. It’s not like there’s no direction in fashion. There are little cap-sleeve shirts, lots of texture, lots of shine and the new, more structured silhouette that started in fall will become more important in spring. Barbara Weiser, vice president of Charivari, which has five stores in Manhattan, said she will walk the shows as usual, with an open mind.
“I never give up hope,” she said. “I never set out with a specific thing in mind. I’m looking for new things that are interesting to me. Mostly I look for items.”
But she added that she’s “hoping to find some lively color. We’ve already had a good response to color this season, and for spring there’s a wide range, from bright to pastel.”
She added that mixed textures, such as a sweater paired with satin jeans, have been selling well. Silver, however, never happened for her as a trend.
“Gold looks more interesting going forward, and some iridescent metallics worn in a casual way,” she said.
Mary Jane Denzer, owner of the store carrying her name in White Plains, N.Y., said she will shop the show with her daughter, Holly Denzer, and that both were looking for new resources for Denzer’s new store.
The new location will contain an area for merchandise priced slightly lower than Denzer’s designer merchandise.
“Jackets will sell from around $500 to $600, dresses from $600 to $1,500,” she said. “It’s geared to my customer’s daughter. “We found a few European lines we liked at the Premier Collections show last time, so we are going back to see what’s there. Color was the most important thing I have seen so far. There’s an awful lot of soft color — rose, soft pink, pale yellow — and I’ve seen a lot of royal blue and cornflower blue.”
Holly Denzer said she’s interested in collections, as well as flippy skirt and kilt items, and that while the older customer may want color, the younger customer she is shopping for “is a little more interested in utility, like a nice little black dinner dress.”
Denzer said her budget will be up in line with the new space, which is double her current space — but she added that she will spending most of that in major collections.
Alexandra Andrews, owner of Alexandra’s, Stuart, Fla., said she would be shopping the show with a 50 percent increase in her budget, because she is also opening an additional location, in the North Palm Beach area.
“I’ll be able to buy things that are younger and more fun, but for the most part, I have an older customer,” she said. “I’m looking for nice, easy-care layering pieces,” such as novelty T-shirts, vests, scarves and belts.
“I’m sort of over vests, but I’m sure there will be plenty at the show,” she said. “They still sell. It’s still an item business.”
New to the show will be a group of Canadian apparel companies, exhibiting in their own area under the aegis of Canada Mode. The companies run the gamut from young designer to better sportswear, according to Mary Allan, commercial officer for the Canadian Consulate here.
“There are 28 companies coming, and about 50 percent of them have a New York showroom or representative,” Allan said. She noted that this representation will replace the Canada Mode trade show, which had been held twice a year at a hotel.
“Buyers were tearing all over town, and it was just exhausting,” said Allan, explaining why Canada Mode was rolled into Premier Collections. “This show is mostly better and bridge companies, and that is what we are bringing.”
British designers are also coming in, although they will be throughout the show, according to Lester.
One group of 11 apparel and accessories exhibitors is being sponsored by the British Knitting and Clothing Export Council and the Department of Trade and Industry. Others are exhibiting independently, according to a spokeswoman for the British Trade and Investment Office here.
There will also be return visits from delegations of French resources showing under the banners of Atmosphere and Mode France.
A trend seminar will be presented by David Wolfe, creative director of the trend and color forecasting division of The Doneger Group, on Monday at 2 p.m.
Among New York-based exhibitors, Barbara Kramer, owner of a showroom under her name here, will bring several sportswear and item lines such as Amy Chan, Milu, Label by Laura Whitcomb, Diapositive and Bettina Budewig.
Kramer noted that she sees Premier Collections as a business as much as an image show, and said that she thinks this will be the biggest of the three so far.
“Last time, we had a huge snowstorm, and the time before that was the first show,” said Kramer, who has been at each edition. “I think they will get a good turnout.
“Premier is good for a better customer, who is a little more sophisticated,” she added. “They have a sophisticated group of European designers.”
Kramer said she’s expecting little dresses to be a key spring item. She noted that knee-length is a new fashion look, but added, “I’m still seeing 16-inch and 18-inch skirts. I think short is still it.”
Howard Highman, president of P.H.D. Showroom here, is bringing the young designer line Jussara Lee and the California bridge lines Product and Byproduct, both designed by Elaine Kim.
While this is the first time for Highman at the show, he said that he was expecting to write orders.
He said that he chose to put these lines in the Premier Collections show because of its “hip, European feeling.”
Highman said that while he’s expecting dresses to be the dominant trend for spring, he’s hoping that buyers looking for pants will leave paper for the Jussara Lee line.
“Jussara is doing a lot of pants styles, like a men’s wear trouser, and if people want delivery, they have to leave paper.”