By  on July 26, 2010

Moved ahead by two months, the 2011 schedule for the Mode City and Interfilière trade fairs at the Porte de Versailles in Paris is causing concern among U.S. manufacturers.

Eurovet, the Paris-based trade show organizer, said in mid-June that it scheduled earlier dates for its lingerie, swimwear and textiles venues because of “popular demand.”Next year’s show is slated for July 9 to 11, a major change from the Labor Day weekend format in September that industry executives have been attending for 26 years. This year’s edition is to run Sept. 4 to 6 in the same location.

Marie-Laure Bellon-Homps, chief executive officer of Eurovet, said the company made the decision based on demands from major American retailers and suppliers.

The big complaint is the timing means the show will be staged before the August market in New York, which will increase pressure for shorter lead times for product development, sourcing, manufacturing, design and merchandising. August is among the most important markets along with November.

Additionally, U.S. innerwear companies — which produce four seasonal collections a year as opposed to two annual collections by their European counterparts — will have little time to travel in July as they prepare for the August market. And the time frame will be too early to receive information from stores on fall receipts and key items, which would be available in September.

“For five years, people have been asking us to make a change. It is a big change, but it is happening because of the demand from big stores such as Victoria’s Secret and The Gap, as well as 42 percent of textile companies who told me September was too late for the Interfilière,” said Bellon-Homps. She added that swimwear brands “prefer July because they feel September is too late for them to show new collections.

“I understand the American vendors’ standpoint, but we don’t have a lot of American exhibitors at this show. We made the announcement a year in advance so they can organize their plans,” said Bellon-Homps.

The transition is expected to be a main topic of discussion at next week’s market [Aug. 2 to 6], where vendors and retailers will digest the potential opportunities and ramifications of the new calender.

Sizing up the opinion of the market, Martha Olson, president of Calvin Klein Underwear in the U.S. and core brands at The Warnaco Group, said, “Our overall assessment of the change from September to July is not positive. In the U.S., we have August market preparations during July. Additionally, this is not the ideal timing for trend shopping as it is end of season.”

The Mode City 2011 schedule is “really not great for this [New York] market,” said Roseann Beutell, manager of Invista Inc.’s intimates business for North America.

“People are not pleased and it’s causing a great deal of discussion. We’re a year out and nobody knows how they will handle this. It’s a real dilemma and I think there will be chaos,” Beutell said.

Guido Campello, vice president of branding and innovation at Cosabella, said, “Everybody is a little bit in shock, but we’re OK with it because July is a very good selling time for our reps in Italy and Germany. But I do think the Europeans scheduled this show to command orders first.”

Some executives said they will cut travel to Paris.

Debby Long, president of Biflex Intimates Group, said, “I know this is not going to work for us next July. We will not be going. I’ve been attending this show for 15 years. But you have to make choices.”

From a designer’s perspective, Flora Nikrooz, designer of her eponymous sleepwear collection at Age Group, described the transition as “very unfortunate.”

“I rely heavily on the Interfilière show for researching new trims and raw materials, but there will be no time in July for my new developments to have an impact for spring 2011, and I will not have any retail information from fall business at my disposal to make the most informed decisions. While I understand the decision to move the show makes sense for the European market, I do feel that this move will marginalize the importance of the Paris show for the rest of the global market,” said Nikrooz.

Retailers, manufacturers, designers, merchandisers and mills scour the European marketplace in search of major trends at department stores and boutiques, particularly in September.

“The dates may have been changed by popular demand, but it probably was by demand from the French and European marketplace, because everyone goes on vacation in August,” said Michael Rabinowitz, ceo of Le Mystère. “September is a very important time in France, a time when there is freshness and newness in fashion. But there is no newness in July.”

load comments
blog comments powered by Disqus