PARIS — Traceability and craftsmanship were among buzzwords for buyers attending the recent Première Classe Tuileries accessories trade show, with premium European accessories brands enjoying a strong presence at the event. Buyers are willing to pay for savoir-faire and tradition, exhibitors said, but they are placing small orders and imposing unreasonably short delivery times.
Exotic skins were in rich supply, from a new line of python belts at Maison Boinet to glistening black stingray iPad holders at Manufacture Jean Rousseau, a French luxury watch straps specialist, which launched a leather goods line six months ago. The brand, which has its own tannery and manufacturing site based in France’s Franche-Comté region, which borders Switzerland, had an on-site artisan creating card holders at its stand.
“We are looking for classics, items that promote craftsmanship. It’s important to explain to people how and where designs are made,” said Sandy Bontout, a buyer for Zalando Group.
Nicole Sewall, apparel and accessories buyer for the Anthropologie-owned wedding and special occasions e-commerce site, Bhldn.com, echoed: “For our customer, she wants to know who the designers are. We always set aside a budget for this salon as you get better design, better quality and creativity.”
She especially liked the ceramic animal jewelry creations by Spanish newcomer Andres Gallardo, and the “graphic but fine” handmade filigree designs by Mallarino. The latter brand is based in Paris but works with artisans in Colombia from where sibling founders Lucia and Isabella Bueno-Mallarino hail.
Sophie-Charlotte Van Robais, director of heritage Bordeaux, France-based hunting brand Alexandre Mareuil, which launched its leathergoods line three seasons ago, said clients appreciate the fact the company has its own atelier. Highlights from the spring-summer 2013 collection included a leather bucket bag with a canvas closure and a silk scarf decorated with hunting illustrations by Esther Bonté.
For bags, general trends included pastels, metallics, safari, camouflage and mixed media. Jewelry fell into two camps: either ultrafine or big, colorful and clunky, with rose gold and ceramic among continuing themes.
“Handbags are still classic, with a lot of pastel colors,” said Kusule Ushe, a buyer for Isetan, Japan.
Naomi Bartee, an accessories buyer for Barneys Co-Op in New York, said: “I’m seeing longer lengths on necklaces and there is more colorful jewelry, incorporating colored stones. For bags, the minimalist look is still key — Dear Celine is still setting the tone.” For materials, she saw a lot of patch-working and plays on surface contrast, such as leather with canvas or solids mixed with print.
Buyers were competing for exclusives for cult London costume jewelry brand Mawi’s just-launched line of loud bejeweled glitter clutches.
“Everybody wants light and easy but interesting, and bags that close,” commented Doris Pang, sales director at Jérôme Dreyfuss, which continues to raise the bar in terms of textile research. New styles included a mixed-media bag combining croco-effect calf, elaphe water snake and canvas. “Buyers are going for extra special pieces, there are no more seasons, the leopard designs are still strong,” added Pang.
Jocelyn Whipple, a specialist in sustainability who was sourcing for Livia Firth’s green concept store, Eco Age, which is based in West London, lauded the oversized eco-friendly hand-woven totes by Antonello, which is based in London but works with cottage industry weavers based in Sardinia. “What I look for is attention to workmanship and celebration of craft,” said Whipple.
While many of the show’s small accessories designers were concerned with going upscale, it didn’t always play in their favor, with buyers at times balking at prices.
Lingering in front of a classic-shaped handbag in camouflage canvas by Italy’s IP & Mr Famous, Naohiro Takeda, owner of Baycrews that co-owns Madame Figaro, a Tokyo-based multi-brand store, said: “By the time we convert the price it will bring it up to $900. You can buy a Miu Miu bag for that.” Business is still tough in Japan, he said.
Likewise, Dania Ghandour, a buyer for Cream, based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, loved Austrian brand Andy Wolf’s “on trend” sunglasses range but was put off by the price tag. “They’re the same price as Prada and Chanel,” she exclaimed.
Livia Stoianova, co-founder of On AuraTout Vu, said buyers were more hesitant than usual about placing orders, pushing for discounts and requesting very short deliveries. “People no longer want to order for the long term. Some want deliveries in two to three weeks. I’ve even had a few clients wanting to take product away with them, and that’s new. It puts huge pressure on designers for production.” Demand was still strong for high-end product, however, she said, such as a crystal cuff retailing at around $1,000.
“It’s tough out there and summer was slow with the Olympics but we’ve seen strong sales growth,” commented Katie Wade, buyer for accessories, lingerie and swimwear for Cocosa, an online designer discount store owned by Mohamed Al Fayed.
First-time exhibitors at the salon included hosiery designer Nicholas Messina, who had just launched his Bar-a-collants.com e-commerce platform for his France-made collection of tights and stockings with handmade seams. Messina presented collaborations with fashion and footwear designers Steffie Christiaens and Fred Marzo on two designs, with new hook-ups to be introduced each season.
“Since the Eighties, not much has happened in the hosiery universe. I wanted to introduce my take on it,” Messina said.
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)