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Variety Key at NY Market

They liked the color, they liked the casual and they mostly liked the retro looks that were shown during the recent New York Home Textiles Market.

Buyers surveyed last week by HTT also gave a nod to the growing variety of lines targeting tweens, teens and 20-somethings.

ANNA'S LINENS

Carie Gladstone Doll, vice president, merchandise

"Market was great. The new fabrications, like the multi-colored tweeds, looked great. Brentwood (Originals) and Natco Home both showed tweed decorative pillows in beautiful color stories. They both also showed some good new constructions.

Elrene looked great in table linens, and Town and Country showed really pretty kitchen coordinates. These two companies have some of the best printed designs out there for our customer.

Elrene had for spring some of the best vinyl novelty I've ever seen, as well as some new spins on older products, like new printing on waffle weaves. Town and Country is expanding its heat-transfer line and had some great new coordinates.

Also impressive was Waverly at Fallani & Cohn.

While it isn't our customer, I must say Bardwil's new towels with Lenox were incredible and very beautiful.

TexStyle Fabric in slip covers showed so many new fabrications and many great new designs.

Natco continues to be such a multi-faceted supplier for us. It really gets the budget customer, offering fashion but at the right price.

Mohawk had really great looking new throws and pillows. And I loved the trend room at Springs. It was so different from any other showings from Springs. It was very manageable and great to see."

BLOOMINGDALE'S

Joe Laneve, senior vice president, home

"Calvin Klein Home was really good — great colors and patterns. Donna Karan Home was terrific. Royal Sateen had a lot of good products for Bloomingdale's. And the third edition of Kate Spade was stronger than in the past."

EXPO DESIGN CENTER

Alan Holland, global product merchant

"All the color was really great. There were lots of lighter weight window fabrics — mid-weights, silks and silk looks, slipper satins. CHF's Peri windows were strong with new header attachments. We're adding the fun colors in Park B. Smith's String Time that is selling well in the more basic colors, and Lichtenberg and Croscill were strong."

FRED MEYER

Jayme Janin, home division trend and product coordinator

"Colors were great this market, whether they were strong and rich or tonal or soft, retreat-like. They looked good across the board in bed and bath.

WestPoint Stevens was great — its whole color trend presentation was right on and its bath accessories looked terrific.

Overall, I thought there was a lot of effort put into newness, texture and fabrication and a lot of attention placed on tweeners and the young professional.

Park B. Smith had some great looks in bedding for 20-somethings. Pem (America) is doing a terrific job across the board in bedding and bath. Baltic looked very forward and progressive, but unfortunately it's not our customer. Its bamboo fiber constructions are very innovative.

Oriental Weavers continues to be strong, as Shaw does.

Incredibly innovative in bedding was Beco Industries. They are very fashion-forward, especially on how to merchandise their product and tell the whole story at retail. A vendor who can put together a program and edit it helps because it takes a lot of the guesswork out of it for the retailer. It makes it easier for the buyer by making the product more retail friendly."

FRED'S

Cynthia Holmes, buyer

"I think the bedding and items at Victoria Classics were exceptional. I was most impressed by the focus on romance and texture. And I was very impressed by the bright colors everywhere throughout the market.

Pem America, for example, had a great bath presentation with lots of colors. It was so refreshing to see colors coming back and brightening up an industry that really needs some brightening."

GARDEN RIDGE

Lisa Kasparek, domestics buyer

"I saw a lot of great comforter sets in both printed jacquard and woven jacquards." Whose? "That I'm keeping to myself." She also liked a number of bed pillow and mattress pad toppers, she added. "The bed pillow business has so much to do with the packaging of the item and how the customer responds to it. And I saw some really great packaging I'm bringing in." Singling out one supplier, Kasparek said, "Barkat had some beautiful new designs and I'll be bringing in a number of those."

THE GREAT INDOORS

Jim Whitehead, chief merchant for soft lines

"I thought Croscill looked very good. It always does, but this market it was better than it has been in a while, especially from the bedding perspective. It had many different and sellable patterns at compelling price points, meaning it kept all the bells and whistles in the product while maintaining reasonable prices. Croscill bath was also phenomenal.

Raymond Waites was also very good. His bedding line looked great. His whole new Metro collection was very different.

I thought Newport had some great looks. They always do a great job with their decorative pillows but this time its bedding was very consistent, compared to the rest of the market.

The pop colors at Park (B. Smith Ltd.) were interesting and different and will give the floor an element of color that has been lacking in a few years."

JCPENNEY DIRECT

Charlene Robnett, buyer, window coverings

"In general, the influence of the tween and teen market in almost every showroom was impressive. Specifically, Lichtenberg had affordable versions, Arley a cool hologram look and Croscill overall.

In geo/retro, Richloom was strong. The question is how much of the teen influence is affecting the rest of the market. We went into a stand-alone teen/tween program and we're happy with it. The challenge is to keep those customers as they grow up to their first apartment."

KOHL'S

Gary Nickolie, floor coverings buyer

"Everyone showed bright colors, which was good and refreshing to see. Glenoit was strong. It had some new versions of traditional berbers. The Design Network people there are very talented in design and their doormats were very strong in design this market. Lacey Mills had an interesting nylon synthetic bath and accent rug that looked like a popcorn chenille with a washable latex back. It is a domestic construction but it looks imported. Mohawk is a very forward supplier of ours, and we have some exclusive programs with them and we are optimistic about them for accent and area rugs.

Everyone was showing a lot of contemporary and soft modern looks. There seemed to be two main themes — contemporary and casual. Park B. Smith was strong and had an updated design direction with new constructions and palettes, like a new tubular rayon chenille that was nice. Their showroom looked very pretty with new brights as well as some Calvin Klein-like trends.

Noursion showed great new versions of its novelty accents. The whole wall it showed looked very good.

At Sure Fit, I was glad to see Danny Cacella is back. He is very good and well respected; he will help the company. Classic Slipcovers had a nice palette on faux suede. Some with fringes were off, but mostly they were very sellable.

Bacova was particularly strong in doormats, with new constructions, higher price points and better quality. It's a good direction for them because doormats are a very impulsive product."

MACY'S HOME STORE

Lester Gribetz, senior vice president

"Donna Karan Home was terrific. The Mix collection from Tommy Hilfiger was terrific with its spirited color. The towel wall was phenomenal and the sailing stripe was terrific."

SAKS DEPARTMENT STORE GROUP

Bruce Morel, vice president, product development, textiles and housewares

"I saw a lot of people sort-of reinventing themselves, addressing a younger career person looking for more Kate Spade, Donna Karan and Nicole Miller types of looks. There were more sophisticated designs, cleaner lines, fewer embellishments and some pop colors like kiwi, pink and aqua mixed with chocolates. This shopper is looking for more simplified looks on better quality fabrications, like silk and chamois.

Baltic Linens did this with its new Wardrobe collection (for bedding and bath). Croscill addressed it with its new Jonathan Adler looks, which this time look cleaner and younger and came out very well.

HFI had four to five really good looking beds in this style.

A lot of people mixed bamboo with terry for bath and also used it in bedding, and this was a nice fit. Baltic had it and Wamsutta did, too.

But a lot of people were showing spring '05 looks and we were shopping for fall '05. This market has got to get ahead. More and more retailers did their open-to-buys for spring '05 already. We did. We were out in China two weeks before this market. With more people going direct offshore, especially with quota going away, suppliers need to address this issue — the retail community is working further out, about a whole year ahead rather than six months. To do business overseas, you need to be working that far ahead."

SEARS

Steve Ryman, vice president, home fashions

"I loved Raymond Waites' new Metropolitan Chic collection. Veratex looked great and the Springs trend floor was an important innovation. The Kas Australia collection of window, bath, bed and rugs from Ellery was great. The color palette in rich warm colors was strong emphasizing chocolate, blue, purple and raisin."

STEIN MART

Pat Stagner, general merchandising manager

"I thought this was a really good market, better than I had expected. I thought the bath at WestPoint Stevens looked really good, really innovative, with a lot of fashion. The new towels at Avanti had great designs. Avon looked very forward, very good. The bedding at Newport had a lot of innovative designs, as it always does. In general terms, no one specific company, the influx of color was very exciting. There was a lot of fresh color that made everything really pop. The thing with color is long overdue and very, very exciting. Our customers can't get enough of it."

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