By  on August 10, 2005

BERLIN — Spring-summer 2006 got off to a quiet start in Germany as trade fairs in Berlin and Düsseldorf attracted fewer visitors than last year, especially from abroad.

For the first time, a scheduling conflict created an overlap between Bread & Butter and the Premium shows here, which were held from July 22 to 24, and the CPD trade fair in Düsseldorf, held July 24 to 26. The marathon might have been a plus for foreign buyers wanting to shop both cities in one long weekend, but many buyers skipped Germany entirely, joining the 45,000 who opted to attend Bread & Butter's Barcelona debut early in July.

The success of Barcelona cast a shadow over Berlin this season, stealing much of the hype and traffic. Bread & Butter Berlin clocked in 26,000 trade visitors (compared with 34,000 last July), 60 percent of whom came from Germany, compared with 49 percent a year before. Premium reported 12,000 visitors, compared with 12,500 the previous year, and a 50-50 domestic-foreign breakdown, though many exhibitors still complained of light traffic. So did participants at CPD in Düsseldorf, where attendance was placed at 44,000, down from 48,000 in August 2004, and 55,000 in summer 2003.

Nevertheless, even if "Berlin has lost some of the glamour," as Bread & Butter chief Karl-Heinz Müller acknowledged, exhibitors showing at the key Berlin venues underscored the importance of the German market for their business. And, as Müller noted, "We were told by the majority they could work quietly at last."

"The serious people are here," commented Tessa Koops, creative director of Daite, a Dutch novelty coats range that showed at Milk & Honey, the fledgling women's-only fashion sector at Bread & Butter. "Business has been OK. More people would have been better for the atmosphere, and there aren't as many people hanging outside, because the weather is bad. But the overall vibe is still positive," she said.

Daite's decorative coats featuring embroidery on cotton twill, batik or retro-tourist prints, rhinestone buttons on gold and a lot of inner detailing reflected one of the show's two main women's wear trends: feminine, flirtatious, colorful and highly detailed looks with luxurious accents.

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