By and  on November 21, 2007

PARIS — WHILE THE EURO MAY BE SOARING NEAR historic levels against the dollar and yen, French trade show organizers remain optimistic about the upcoming season.

Organizers said business has been strong in the second half of this year, and voiced confidence that the momentum would continue into next year. They added that efforts to bolster creativity, an increase in consumer spending in France and innovative categories such as ethical fashion and high-tech design are bearing fruit and keeping Paris a crucial stop on the international trade show tour.

"Fashion in France continues to put the accent on creation and, despite the strength of the euro, attendance figures increased," said Xavier Clergerie, organizer of the Who's Next and Premiere Classe contemporary ready-to-wear and accessories shows that will convene at the Port de Versailles Jan. 24 to 27. Visitor attendance from North America increased by 16.6 percent at the last session. "Labels today need to tell a story. Retailers are very well informed. They are looking for exceptional products such as ethical brands or young designers."

The Prêt à Porter, France's largest rtw and accessories trade show, which coincides with Who's Next at the Porte de Versailles, also is putting a focus on its accessories, offering creativity and eco-friendly labels with a high-end spin.

"We are introducing a new footwear category next season," said Jean-Pierre Mocho, president of the Prêt à Porter, who added that the show would increase its offering of plus-size labels, which made its debut last season.

The Prêt's So Ethic section is extending its reach into the luxury category. Eco-friendly stalwarts with higher price points, including Stewart+Brown, Katharine Hamnett and Del Forte, will be presented at the fair, while a separate luxury ethical show for higher-end brands will coincide with Paris Fashion Week in October.

"Ethical brands are getting more creative and are beginning to sell in fashionable multibrand stores. Retailers are increasing their demand for ethical high-end labels," Mocho said. "Ethical brands are not going to inundate the market, but it's a very strong category."

Meanwhile, Eclat de Mode, which specializes in costume and silver jewelry, also will convene at the Porte de Versailles on the same dates.

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