PARIS — With the global financial crisis spiraling, business was tepid at the boutique apparel trade shows here as buyers played it safe, citing budgets below or on a par with last season.
The spring-summer shows, Rendez-Vous, Paris sur Mode, Atmosphère, Le Showroom and Vendôme Luxury Trade Show, which ended their four-day runs Oct. 6, generally had slow traffic. Only Tranoï, the biggest event with three locations across Paris, drew more buyers.
Despite a prime position at the entrance of Tranoï’s upscale Montaigne location, New York’s Tibi stand was quiet.
“People are buying in smaller quantities, trying to ensure that inventories are low,” said Stephanie Unwin, vice president of sales. “They are just buying the must-have pieces.”
Retailers confirmed the cautious mood.
“We’re choosing wisely,” said Jill Brandmarker, manager of Baby & Co., a 3,000-square-foot, Seattle-based store.
“We’re paying more attention to price than in recent history,” said Melanie Cox, president and chief executive officer of the Scoop chain. Bemoaning the lack of novelty, Cox added, “We haven’t seen that much change compared with the trade shows in New York.”
Hunting for “something to lift the spirit of America,” Steven Trussell, creative director of Los Angeles-based retailer H Lorenzo and its eco-concept boutique HLNR, said, “I’ve found a lot of safe collections, a lot of darks. I’m still seeing quite a few prints. It’s all quite somber.”
However, bright colors, including fuchsia and orange, were strong sellers, while muted petrol tones and gray continued to be popular.
Contrasting with the overall tone, business was brisk at Barcelona-based Sita Murt at Paris Sur Mode, where a collection that featured bright coral and electric yellow with gray neutrals signed 30 to 40 new accounts, said managing director Jordi Balsells. A gray tunic dress with knit details, wholesaling at 70 euros, or $95 at current exchange, was a bestseller.
At Rendez-Vous, a springboard for young designers, traffic was disappointing despite a move to the Jeu de Paume museum. U.K.-based Go by a Different Path, winner of the 2008 Fashion Fringe at Covent Garden award, displayed its first collection but company representatives said a location in the entrance hall had not spurred business.
Organizer Nic Jones admitted the show was quieter than its March edition, but noted that key department stores had visited.
“We’ve booked a huge order with Barneys for our own collection, Surface to Air,” he said.
Rendez-Vous will launch a “more mainstream” New York edition to showcase American talent, scheduled for Feb. 20 to 22 in Chelsea’s Altman building, Jones said.
Buyers cited accessories as easier to sell in the current economic climate.
“I came looking for fashion and I haven’t seen anything exceptional, but the British accessories designers particularly are doing some great stuff,” said consultant Christine Ellis, who buys for Italian stores.
At Tranoï, a large exhibition space was dedicated to accessories. While some focused on uplifting brights, there was a market for more classic pieces, too.
Shelly Musselman, co-owner of Forty Five Ten in Dallas, was playing it safe with staples from Danish brand Kristensen du Nord’s collection of soft cotton pieces in earthy shades.
“We have a lot of fun, crazy things [in our store], but we’re being more respectful of the world situation,” Musselman said. “We’re not buying less, we’re just being a lot more thoughtful about what we buy.”
Musselman cited a return to a more streamlined look as key for the spring-summer season.
For next summer, Scoop’s Cox predicted key trends would be slouchy T-shirts, jersey and bright colors.
“Also, the Indian influence is more present in Paris than in the U.S.,” she added.
Tranoï put an accent on the subcontinent, with Indian designers highlighted at the Bourse location and the building’s famous columns clad in designs by Manish Arora.
Bestsellers at Italian designer Ilaria Nistri, whose new clients included Hong Kong’s Lane Crawford, were a black silk short-sleeved waistcoat with pearls stitched inside the fabric, priced at 290 euros, or $394, as well as flowing silk tops with aquatic prints, priced from 140 to 180 euros, or $190 to $244.
“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
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye