By  on October 14, 2011

PARIS — Prints answered the call for enticing items at the recent round of apparel trade shows held during Paris Fashion Week here, as buyers sought out original items to complement their offer.

“We’re looking for something that has a lot of print that hasn’t been seen before, for example designers that are doing their own, original prints,” said Ruth Melero, owner of Melero Boutique in San Diego.

Gill McCulloch, women’s wear buyer for Anthropologie in Europe, mirrored that sentiment, picking up items from Spanish label Ailanto at the Atmosphere show.

“I’m keeping an open mind, looking for something individual and quirky that I can’t find anywhere else,” she said. “Our customer still has that desire for must-have pieces, so our budgets haven’t been affected by the crisis.”

“Most buyers go for our exclusive prints,” said designer Aitor Muñoz from Barcelona-based Ailanto, which has sold to retailers such as Harvey Nichols Hong Kong and Selfridges.

The brand’s flower-print ramie shift dress wholesales for 105 euros, or $140 at current exchange rates.

Another Spanish line with prints that proved popular was Monoplaza, showing at Paris sur Mode. The collection includes a butterfly-print tunic dress priced at 92 euros wholesale, or $123.

“The line is very pretty and uses beautiful fabrics,” said Betty Reiter, owner of the store of the same name in Dallas, adding that although her business is good right now, she is maintaining a flat budget for spring-summer 2012 purchasing. “Customs and duty are getting very expensive for European brands.”

Hong Kong retailer Love It’s chief executive officer, Catherine Martsch, said, “Our business has doubled since last year and we have doubled our budgets, too. But the European lines are so much more expensive that we only buy sparingly, and we only buy exceptional items.”

Among the busier stands over at Tranoi was Italian designer Emiliano Rinaldi, who won a prize from Italian Vogue in June for his men’s wear collection.

The designer is stocked at L’Eclaireur in Paris and picked up new customers including Rezzo in Tuscany and Tomorrowland in Tokyo at the show. Key items included a mottled black-and-white knit cotton and linen maxidress, priced 190 euros, or $254.

Buyers searching for newness also found it in Lebanese brand Dina JSR’s first collection, showing at Vendôme Luxury. The label’s fuchsia triple organza cocktail dress, inspired by Lebanese architecture, was picked up by Saks Fifth Avenue, according to operations director Reem Jundi. The dress wholesales for 1,400 euros, or $1,870.

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