By  on May 24, 2006

German organizers put animosity aside and work to improve their shows.

BERLIN — After several seasons of uncertainty and uproar, the German women's trade fair scene is entering a quieter phase of consolidation and continuity.

Scheduling conflicts among rival shows have been resolved (for this season, at least) and worries that new events like Bread & Butter Barcelona would weaken the home team have been put aside. Although competition remains brisk, show producers are spending less time and energy talking down their rivals and more on sharpening the profile, range and services of their respective fairs.

Less than a week after the World Cup final, Berlin will host a trio of trade shows and multiple fashion week events July 14-16. As an added attraction — or distraction — the Love Parade is also scheduled that weekend, offering insight into partying dress codes for today's German youth.

Bread & Butter is rearranging its floor plan at the Siemens Kabelwerk complex in Spandau with a few slight changes. The "fashion hall" has been relocated to the front. Milk & Honey, the women's-only segment, will be cozier, more intimate and more progressive. The departure of a non-fashion renter in part of the Siemens space has allowed the core denim hall to be slightly expanded. The separate KA128 loft space introduced last season will remain limited to 60 high-end exhibitors, featuring designers and hip classics like RedWing shoes, according to segment coordinator Fares Gabriel Hadid. Hadid also heads the men's and women's "Superior" area, which, in addition to California premium denim brands, aims to pull in names like Custo, D², Paul Smith and Neil Barrett.

Also part of the 600-exhibitor mix at Bread & Butter are the newly named Street Culture; Urban Elegance; Very Kids, for the club generation's fashionable offspring, and the conceptual BBB Studio02. There, 25 interviews with "key thinkers" like Hussein Chalayan will be presented in an architectural setting surrounded by stands for edgy labels such as Wendy & Jim and Unconditional.

Bread & Butter founder and chief executive Karl-Heinz Müller expects denim to remain a strong feature at the show. "A bit cooler and a bit less used," he said, but with French, English and other top American brands vying with the L.A. leaders. "Berlin will continue to be strongly international in its exhibitor mix, and it's also become more quality-oriented. The North European brands are more high-quality," he noted.

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