By  on February 23, 2010

PARIS — Reflecting the trend for high-quality outerwear and somber styles, which resonated through the recent men’s runway shows in Paris, boutique trade fairs here featured statement and salable pieces that hit the right notes with retailers.

Buyers who attended the events, which included Tranoï and Capsule that ran in tandem with men’s fashion week, said they were eager to refresh their stock. Although some said budgets were on par with last year, others increased their open-to-buy by as much as 20 percent.

Trends for fall underscored a quality-conscious take on casual outerwear, with heritage brands, revived archival pieces and knitwear emerging as a key message. Somber palettes and Gothic-inspired looks, à la Rick Owens, were also recurring themes.

Eric Toledano, owner of Canadian boutique U&I, lauded labels that put history front and center. “Either you are going to tell a story or you are not,” he said. “This year outerwear pieces are very strong. There are a lot of different interpretations.”

Toledano said he would increase his budget 20 percent. “We sell a mix of price points, that is what has helped us.”

“It’s a good quality show,” said Maely Amalric, buyer for Victoire, a men’s boutique in Saint-Tropez who was shopping the Tranoï show. “Knitwear is a definite trend this year — maybe more rustic knitwear. Outerwear, weekend wear, gentlemen’s vests, are all big.”

“I see a lot of Rick Owens-[inspired labels] here,” said Margot Meessen, buyer from Dutch boutique Labels. “It’s not casual, it’s very high fashion, but glamour is out.”

Affirming this trend, British outerwear specialist Nigel Cabourn, where signature pieces such as an original orange Everest jacket were on display, drew many visitors. “We’ve had people waiting here, it has been incredible,” said designer Nigel Cabourn.

Hot items at Nigel Cabourn came from the Classics collection, which are drawn from Cabourn’s archives and included jackets in solid and check tweed, as well as a tweed Macintosh. U.K. designer Neil Christopher confirmed the heightened interest among buyers: “People are writing; retailers are really positive.”

Meanwhile, Danish knitwear brand S.N.S. Herning, exhibiting at the Capsule show, said its signature knits such as the Naval Knit and designs resurrected from the brand’s archives were a hit with buyers.

“Updated classics are a strong trend for us this season. On the whole, heritage brands and rugged American styles did extremely well,” said Capsule founder, Edina Sultanik.

Sultanik said Capsule marked its biggest Parisian show to date with 85 exhibitors and more than 1,500 visitors.

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