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.
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews