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DALLAS — Novelty sweaters, jewelry, distinctive resort dresses and festive holiday items led bookings at Fashion Industry Gallery’s three-day show ended Aug. 15.

Hot items included clothing draped in fringe, necklaces with tassels, delicate layered jewelry in mixed metals and rompers. A variety of dresses also got attention, including drop-waist, asymmetrically detailed, patterned body-hugging knits, fit-and-flare, knit columns and wispy evening gowns featuring contrasting textures and embellishments. Among the continuing trends were colorblocking, lace, stripes, mixed prints and textures.

“Very fashion-forward design in limited editions is what is selling,” said Connie Sigel, owner of Elements in Dallas. “I feel like the middle-of-the-road customer is being more careful with their money. We’re marking down stuff that is more mainstream.”

Sigel is renovating Elements to create a Thirties Parisian-style in-store shop focused on European labels. She’s also giving more space to emerging designers and fine jewelry.

“We’re going a bit more higher end and avant-garde,” she said.

Cindy Shelby, owner of Ruth Meyers in Oklahoma City, hiked her budget about 5 percent. She emphasized color as she reviewed Three Dot tops, Coatology puffer jackets, Autumn Cashmere sweaters, and BCBG sportswear and jewelry.

“What’s really important to me are special tops,” Shelby said. “It seems like they have their leggings and jeans.”

Shelby dismissed any styles that looked too traditional or matronly for the 39-year-old upscale boutique.
“No one wants to look old,” Shelby added. “My 81-year-old mother looked at something and said, ‘Is that old?”

Tootsies buyer John Maguire reviewed dresses and sportswear for the Houston-based chain’s three stores. He was impressed with Milly’s “modern, saleable shapes and beautiful prints in happy colors,” and BCBG’s “elevated” designs, such as an ivory dress spliced with cutouts, mesh, lace and sequins.

“We’re increasing in sportswear and the dress business is good,” he said, noting he was picking up “younger” resources like Tbagslosangeles. “Body-con is bigger than ever, and jumpsuits are ridiculous. We get 10 in and sell nine in a week.”

Owners Melanie Bremer and Lynda Janzen shopped for Zuzu’s Petals contemporary casual shop in Overland Park, Kan., which opened last year and introduced a second location in May at the Threshing Bee retail cooperative. The joint space for six boutiques opened along with Prairiefire, a center highlighted by a natural history museum with an eye-catching facade of multicolor iridescent glass.

Business at the boutiques is “pretty good — up and down,” Bremer said. “We’re increasing our holiday buy and spring buy 20 to 30 percent and buying more outerwear because last year we didn’t have enough.”
Though traffic was sparse, the venue was fully leased.

“The market was slow, but we did business,” said Gary Rosenblum, national sales manager for Drew contemporary sportswear. “They’d rather chase after the merchandise. The established stores are buying through January.”

Nash Yacoub, owner of Succarra Showroom in New York, has been on a wait list for a permanent space and plans to open a permanent gallery in October after exhibiting three times in the Shop booth show.

“It’s a very important market to be in,” said Yacoub, who specializes in fashion-forward jewelry. “The buyers are serious and want to know about new brands. The traffic is not high, but people here are very loyal.”

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