PARIS — Earlier timing for the Mode City innerwear and swimwear salon in July, plus a new Paris Design Week initiative in September by the organizers of Maison & Objet, are among key developments in the City of Light.
Pierre Gendrot, coordinator of Paris Capitale de la Création, or Paris Capital of Creativity, which groups 19 salons, said September will be particularly vibrant, with events spread throughout the month. Scheduled for Sept. 9 to 13, Paris design fair Maison & Objet is now set to run a few days after the city’s fashion trade shows in early September, while eyewear salon Silmo will run Sept. 29 to Oct. 2, coinciding with the start of the spring women’s ready-to-wear shows.
Messe Frankfurt France will introduce the Apparel Sourcing trade show, launched in New York last year, to run concurrently with the Paris edition of Texworld, Sept. 19 to 22.
“This is a natural development for Texworld, where the range offered by clothing manufacturers, particularly at the September shows, was increasing substantially,” said Michael Scherpe, president of Messe Frankfurt France.
The Apparel Sourcing show will be held in hall one of the Le Bourget exhibition center, with Texworld located in hall two. The show should run concurrently with Texworld on a semiannual basis starting in 2012.
Prêt à Porter Paris is also introducing a flurry of changes in September, in what represents its biggest overhaul in five years, with the aim of making the show easier to navigate for buyers and to provide more services for exhibitors. The number of sections is being narrowed to eight from 11, with accessories grouped on one floor and rtw on another. This responds to the shifting needs of brands and growing competition from rival trade show Who’s Next, which takes place simultaneously at the Porte de Versailles exhibition center from Sept. 3 to 6.
Comexposium, which owns 50 percent of WSN Développement, the company that runs the Who’s Next and Première Classe shows, last week acquired Sodes, the company in charge of Prêt à Porter Paris, Atmosphère, The Box, LivingRoom and The Train. This effectively places Prêt à Porter Paris and Who’s Next under one umbrella, a development greeted by Muriel Piaser, exhibitions director for Prêt à Porter Paris. “This is excellent news,” she said.
Xavier Clergerie, managing director of Who’s Next and Première Classe, is expected to take over management of the Sodes trade shows. Piaser said her new role was yet to be defined, but she looked forward to working with Clergerie. The trade shows will go ahead as previously planned in September and changes resulting from the buyout will be felt starting in 2012, Piaser added.
The changes at Prêt à Porter are designed to cater to contemporary brands identified as the “heart of the market,” said Piaser, such as Devernois, Lauren Vidal, René Derhy, Alain Weiz and Didier Parakian.
“The purchasing power of consumers between age 40 and 50 is as great as that of teenagers, and these are the target customers of Prêt à Porter,” she said. “In the past, exhibitors at Prêt à Porter included both the heart of the market and designers, whereas nowadays almost 80 percent of designers have moved to showing during fashion week, so Prêt à Porter is focusing more on this contemporary and midrange offer.”
Organizers of the city’s fashion and accessories salons listed high raw material costs and the strong euro, which could penalize the export business of young brands, among the key challenges for designers, with slight price increases inevitable.
“We feel that the American market is having a tough time investing in European creativity,” said Sylvie Pourrat, managing director of the Premiere Classe accessories salon, adding that despite the sky-high prices on precious metals, costume jewelry designers continue to gravitate toward more high-end lines.
New projects lined up for the salon’s Nomad Lounge trend area will include an exhibition of creations by 12 Austrian accessories designers.
Richard Martin, deputy director and artistic director of Paris jewelry salon Eclat de Mode-Bijorhca, said the event’s Gold by Eclat de Mode gold jewelry section, introduced last year with around 20 designers, will expand to around 35 at the upcoming edition, Sept. 2 to 5. The salon’s Elements Collections jewelry parts segment will move to the ground floor with a separate entrance. Organizers have planned a “Moulin Rouge” exhibition showcasing iconic dresses and accessories worn in the show, as well as costume jewelry designs from the Moulin Rouge accessories line by On Aura Tout Vu.
Philippe Pasquet, chief executive officer of Paris textiles salon Première Vision, set for Sept. 20 to 22, said fiber shortages and inflamed prices ended up having a positive effect on business for the salon in January, with retailers making decisions earlier. Prices have stabilized since, he said, but the situation is still volatile.
Having recently visited clients in Japan, Pasquet was among several organizers commenting on the admirable spirit of Japanese exhibitors, who have applied a business-as-usual-approach following the country’s devastating earthquake and tsunami in March.
“They need the international market more than ever,” he said.
Pourrat said she was amazed to see that Japan’s recent tragedy has not yet impacted sales for Premiere Classe’s accessories designers, some of whom generate 95 percent of their sales there.
“The Japanese are big consumers of creativity,” she said.
Mode City’s earlier show slot in July has already gotten the thumbs-up from retailers and brands, with several big names returning to the event, including Gottex and Gerhard Roesch, according to show manager Séverine Marchesi. Citing strong sales from the current spring season — which has been boosted by the recent good weather in Europe — Marchesi said business is picking up for the industry and all of the major American retailers have confirmed their attendance at the show, which starts its three-day run on July 9.
Along with neighboring textiles show Interfilière Paris, Mode City will stage its first Ultra Lingerie catwalk show in the center of the city, at the Pavilion Cambon on Place Vendôme. The event will showcase 70 designs by weaver-designer pairings. Around 600 buyers have been invited.
Responding to rising demand from brands for creative textiles, Interfilière will inaugurate The Exclusives, a private zone presenting cutting-edge designs by 25 exhibitors. Only customers invited by participating mills will be allowed access.
“The space will also allow mills to test out creative product on designers,” said exhibition manager Charlotte Giraudineau.
Among new design initiatives, Maison & Objet organizer SAFI in September will inaugurate Paris Design Week, which kicks off Sept. 12 at the end of Maison & Objet. For the seven-day event, which falls under the Paris Capitale de la Création banner, a range of exhibitions and events will take place in stores, galleries, design showrooms and restaurants around the city, spanning design, architecture, fashion, arts and culture, food and technology.
Who’s Next, which runs Sept. 3 to 6 at the Porte de Versailles, will host an exhibition of Malaysian designers. The salon also plans a collaboration with the Federation of Lace and Embroidery that will match eight lace makers with designers from Premiere Classe and Who’s Next to develop 20 creations.
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