Despite the unsteady economy, attendees at the Designers at the Jumeirah Essex House show were forging ahead.
Designer Linda Cunningham, who also owns three signature boutiques, said, “Business has picked up a little. Everyone is in a forward-thinking mood. There is a little pent-up demand and shoppers are ready to be a little conspicuous again.”
Short cocktail dresses outsold gowns two-to-one because they could be worn more frequently, she said. Wholesaling between $700 and $1,000, they also were an easier sell than longer ones, which range from $1,200 to $1,600.
Kevan Hall used the show to introduce his day collection of 12 hammered crepe dresses. “My clients were requesting the same kind of aesthetic that I use for red-carpet and cocktail dresses,” he said.
Elizabeth Bartzis, owner of Maxi boutique in Toronto, was one retailer who planned to pick up the line.
Reviewing the new day pieces, she said, “It’s not about price points with my shoppers. It’s all about style. If something is really different and avant-garde, they will buy it,” she said.
At Ella Zahlan, the designer and her sales team were working to build up the U.S. distribution. At least 10 stores ordered the Beirut-based eveningwear, bridal and cocktail dress collection. With a healthy number of accounts in Europe and the Middle East, the company now aims to generate about $375,000 in sales in the U.S. in the next year, according to sales director Jeffrey Moss.