Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fashionable Facts and Fiction: Luggage Isn't Sold at Trunk Shows

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fashionable Facts and Fiction: Luggage Isn't Sold at Trunk Shows

Article excerpt

SOME THINGS you know because your mother or great-aunt once told you, such as don't wear dark undies beneath light clothes.

But other wisdom is more obscure. Fashion changes. And so do rules. In the "what you always wanted to know but were afraid to ask" category, we've listed some ponderable issues.

What is a trunk show?

At one time designers actually tossed all their clothes in a trunk and went on the road. Today, because no retail store can afford to stock a designer's entire collection, the retailer plays host to a designer's sales representative, who arrives with cases of the season's samples. Customers order the clothing in their sizes from the samples.

The clothing is cut to order in a standard size, not custom-made. The advantages are that the customer has a varied selection from the designer's line, and the store doesn't have money tied up in stock.

Trunk shows make up 12 to 15 percent of the Donna Karan Collection business, said Lewis Koppleman, executive vice president for sales and marketing. They are important because they give customers an opportunity to see how looks are put together.

"We send accessories. We send shoes," Koppleman said. "It gives you a chance to ask questions."

Delivery can take up to three months after the order. If you need a garment by a certain date, tell the representative.

What is rayon?

It's actually a natural fiber fabric made from tree pulp. The wood is treated with chemicals to extract cellulose, which is spun into fiber. It was invented in France in the late 1800s and was especially popular in the 1940s.

Rayon came in handy especially during the war years, and at one time it was actually called faux silk. Now it can be made to resemble almost any fabric.

Demand increased as soft, drapey silhouettes came into fashion. It is found in inexpensive as well as pricey clothing, but it is not inexpensive. Only three U.S. mills - in Tennessee and Alabama - produce domestic rayon fiber, according to the American Fiber Manufacturers Association. Efforts have been intense in recent years to use safer chemicals to diminish pollution to the environment. …

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