NEW YORK — Summer was in the air at the three-day Intermezzo trade show here.
ENK International’s January edition at the Show Piers was busy with buyers who were on the hunt for fresh looks to complete their summer selling season. While retailers said they were able to find things, reviews on the show were mixed.
“It was very interesting to see the new collections, a bit of everything soft and feminine,” said Juan Justicia, a buyer for Lounge, a contemporary- and denim-based specialty store here. “There was a lot of rock ‘n’ roll and bohemian with both bright and muted colors.”
Justicia said that, overall, he felt that everyone seemed excited about the summer season.
Other buyers felt differently.
“I wish the market would move away from the baby-doll look, which is rather limiting in that it appeals to a narrow segment of the market,” said Rick Weinstein, director of sales and marketing at Searle, which operates eight stores. “Fashion-conscious customers will always be comfortable and interested in being right on fashion. Those on the fringes, especially if they’ve worn it before and are a little older, tend to be gun-shy to repeat looks like this.”
That said, Weinstein added he did like that some dresses, a best-selling category at his stores, are evolving into newer looks like shifts and minidresses in more structured fabrics.
Erin Crandall, head buyer for contemporary retailer Shopbop.com, agreed the fashion was disappointing.
“I didn’t think the show looked that great,” she said. “The best things I’ve seen are from Diane von Furstenberg — their pre-fall looks are amazing, and it’s a true fall-transition delivery — and Alice + Olivia’s summer [line] also looks great.”
Crandall said she also liked the “great wardrobe staples” from Vince.
“The dresses are great, and there are cotton cashmere pieces that are perfect for transition,” she said.
On the exhibitor side, vendors seemed happy with their orders. At Lilla P., a New York-based better sportswear firm known best for its pima cotton T-shirts, owner Pauline Nakios was doing well with knit dresses in neutral tones.
“I’m booking a lot of color in the tank tops, but everything else is pretty neutral,” she said. “Our dresses are doing very well, people are really loving the fit.”
The Lilla P. collection wholesales from $16 to $54.
At the Ranahan Jeans booth, the Los Angeles-based company did well with its slim-fit and trouser jeans styles.
“People are loving the signature lipstick pocket,” said Ashley Boer, a sales representative for the brand, pointing out a small, slim interior pocket near the leg opening. “It’s great since it’s hidden and you don’t get the bulge in your pocket.”
Ranahan, which has been in business for a year, was started by the sister team of Amy and Allison Gammon. Their father is James Gammon, a Western movie star. Having lived a lot of their young lives on the sets of Western flicks, the girls wanted to launch a line of jeans to reflect their father’s work.
The Ranahan line (which means “ranch hand” in cowboy-speak) wholesales from $79 to $84.
At the Malibu, Calif.-based contemporary firm Grassroots, sales representative Denise Hopkins said a viscose raglan sleeve tunic was booking well, as were the basket-weave tops and cotton V-neck crochet dresses. She said that colors like peach, blue and white were selling well. The Grassroots line wholesales from $17 to $52.
Helen Wang, which is housed at the Jeffrey Schwager showroom here, was also at the show with a huge selection of summer dresses.
“We have been doing very well with a variety of styles,” said Mandi Dorbin, sales representative at Jeffrey Schwager. “Baby dolls are doing well as are the striped halters.”
Dorbin pointed out a cotton shear silver leaf tunic, silk deep-V-neck baby-doll dress and an embroidered linen dress as some of the best-booking pieces from Helen Wang. The line wholesales from $120 to $180.
Dorbin was also showing off Chace, a new contemporary line based here. There were linen laser-cut-out jackets and dresses, metallic linen coats and woven striped men’s wear-inspired shirtdresses. The Chace line was also booking well with pointelle sweaters and silk charmeuse and lace cocktail dresses.
“I really feel strongly about the high-waisted pants and skirts,” said Marianne Chace Weber, owner and designer of the collection, pointing to a black silk skirt. “I think it’s something that’s going to catch on after all of these low-waisted styles.”
The Chace collection wholesales from $110 to $210.
At press time, ENK could not confirm the number of exhibitors or retailers who attended the show, which closed Jan. 11.