MILAN — Vendors at the 102nd edition of Mipel, the Italian leather-goods and accessories trade fair, tried to beat the generally gloomy atmosphere with a rich and colorful selection of high-quality products. But they still had to cope with cautious buyers and a price-focused demand.
Despite the current economic situation, some well-known brands returned to Mipel, like Serapian, which was selected for its excellence and invited by a committee of industry opinion leaders, including Beppe Angiolini, chairman of the Italian chamber of fashion buyers.
Timberland returned to Mipel, and Marcello Mora, sales manager at Mediterranea (the company that holds the Timberland leather-goods license), was optimistic: “In the middle of the sales campaign, we have reached the same sell-through as last year. The shops we acquired last year returned this season to buy.”
Closing figures confirmed that the Italian market is still undergoing a historic recession.
The decrease in the number of domestic visitors to Mipel was in line with the drop in domestic demand reported in the first half of 2012 (down 6.2 percent in volume) by Italy’s leather-goods industry association, Aimpes. Exports of medium to high-end products powered business, thanks to the growing purchasing power of customers from emerging markets like China, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
According to Giorgio Cannara, president of Mipel and Aimpes, “The growing interest from these countries is a good sign, because it indicates that people here, who increasingly insist on the very highest standards, are looking to Mipel to find the products that best meet their requirements.”
Exports from Italy were up 25 percent for the January to May 2012 period compared with the same period in 2011.
Mipel took place at the Milano Fiera Rho fairgrounds from Sept. 16 to 19 and counted 371 exhibitors, of which 243 were Italians. Countries like India (41 exhibitors) or Spain (24 exhibitors) were well represented. This edition welcomed 16,700 visitors, 5 percent less than in September 2011, mostly because of the 8 percent decrease year-on-year in the number of Italian visitors (7,870).
If the fair was less crowded than usual, some key exhibitors noted that the people who attended the fair came with a strong intention to buy.
“There were not as many buyers as there used to be, but the ones that came showed a great interest in what they saw,” said Maria Supino, owner and founder of Baiadera, a brand that specializes in hand-painted bags.
At Simod SpA, which distributes Ermanno by Ermanno Scervino, You&Me and Gaetano Navarra accessories, the mood was up as clients returned and many increased their budgets compared with last year. Cinzia Meschini, import manager at Simod, said this shows “they are confident about our brands.”
Medium-size bags stood out as among the main trends for spring. The bucket bag was one of the most represented styles and promised to be quite popular at retail, whereas totes and shoppers were still in demand, but only if highly detailed.
The offer was mainly functional and colorful. Floral patterns and romantic prints were in demand, and manufacturers worked significantly with pleats, appliqués and ruched materials. Ethnic inspirations were also important, especially at Braccialini. “The major theme of the collection this season is Africa, which was translated into warm colors and traditional patterns,” said Lorenzo Braccialini, chief marketing officer.
Vibrant hues met with success as well. “Bright colors tend to sell better than pastels this season,” said Meschini, adding, “The Gaetano Navarra line has a great potential. For the first collection, we presented clean and sleek styles in bright shades of fuchsia, royal blue and orange.”
Overall, the collections on display at Mipel featured hues that might announce brighter trading days in 2013.
The biggest challenge for Mipel in the short term will be to remain attractive to international buyers, vendors said. Indeed, more foreign shops are dealing directly with their local distributors or showrooms. Traveling to the fair is becoming an optional cost for retailers.
“Mipel represents a marginal part of our business compared to 10 years ago,” said Braccialini. He added, however, “We have to be here because some of our customers from Russia and Eastern Europe are used to ordering at Mipel.”
The next edition of Mipel, for fall 2013, will take place at the same venue, March 3 to 6.
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye