Recently, Lori attended the WORLD OF PROM market in Atlanta to check out the new designs for 2017, and came away a bit surprised. As always, designing for prom challenges the designers behind the dresses. “To design a year and a half in advance, that’s hard to do,” Lori said, especially considering how fast the world changes for high school girls. At the Atlanta market, the designers certainly were up to the challenge.
“Atlanta has by far the largest prom market,” Lori said. “People come from everywhere. It runs for over a week. So we really specialize in Sherri Hill and Jovani. Those are the two lines that we feel like are the strongest with our customers, and that’s the ones we get the most requests for. And, really, they are the two most popular prom lines out there.”
For prom 2017, expect to see a softer side in color. “This season, Sherri Hill is bringing pastels back, which I was really shocked because last season we saw all the color blocking and bright colors,” Lori said. “This season we saw a really pretty light blue, we saw a lot of pink – a ton of pink. We also saw a lot of what’s popular in the housing industry as far as colors, which are grays. There is a ton of stone and light gray and gunmetal.”
Also, two-piece dress designs continue to reign for prom 2017. “Two-pieces were bigger than ever before,” Lori said. “I’m sitting there as I’m buying these thinking, ‘I hope their mothers don’t have a heart attack.’ They sold well last year, and I’m hoping that continues through this year.”
Ballgowns also are more prevalent for prom 2017, with a decline in trumpet designs. “There’s some, but last year it was all there was,” Lori said. “This year, it’s more dispersed between then two-piece and the A-line. They’re bringing different things back.”
Those “different things” include a blast from the past. “Let me tell you what’s coming back big time: the ’70s,” Lori said. “Oh my goodness, and I fit right in there. One girl came out at Jovani wearing a bright yellow top with a bell sleeve, two pieces, and guess what the skirt had on it? Flowers all over it. It could have been straight out of 1970. I felt like she should have given us a ‘peace’ sign as she walked down the runway.”
Lori also saw ’70s-inspired designs from Sherri Hill. “She did this whole ‘Anthropologie’ look, and they looked like fabric from the ’70s that was like a patchwork skirt with a solid top,” she said. “That was another thing they’re bringing back for 2017. It was a different, interesting market.”
Lori certainly hopes prom shoppers like what they see. “For us as buyers, we’re trying to predict what will sell,” she said. “It is hard to buy for prom. So we’re taking a guess and a gamble that all this will be popular and the girls will love it. So, fingers crossed!”