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Paris Couture Telecast Unplugged

PARIS -- Event Media's effort to telecast the Paris couture collections on close-circuit in the U.S. has fallen through, surprising few people here.<BR><BR>The New York-based group apparently failed to sell enough tickets to honor a contractual...

PARIS — Event Media’s effort to telecast the Paris couture collections on close-circuit in the U.S. has fallen through, surprising few people here.

The New York-based group apparently failed to sell enough tickets to honor a contractual $150,000 down payment to the Chambre Syndicale that was due Jan. 8.

Under the terms of the original agreement, Event Media signed a $1 million deal last fall with the Chambre Syndicale to show the upcoming couture collections in high definition TV in auditoriums in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

The Chambre had promised about $50,000 from Event Media to each of the 18 couture houses scheduled to broadcast their runway shows. The amount is slightly less than the cost of renting a hall in the new Carrousel.

Jacques Mouclier, Chambre president, said the organization was considering whether to sue Event Media for damages, but he also conceded that his organization had not invested any money in the program.

“Event Media let us know that they were incapable of getting the necessary financing for the project. They asked us to continue the contract in the following season, but I explained that as they had failed to live up their part of our accord they could forget it,” said Mouclier.

“I’m disappointed,” he added. “Everyone was looking forward to this hook-up and it would have been really useful financially to many houses. But, ultimately, all our efforts came to nothing.”

John Triggle, president of Paris Fashion Showcase, the parent company of Event Media, said on Tuesday, “We’re not prepared to talk about the difficulties that led to the decision. It’s not anybody’s business.”

Triggle said all ticket purchases for the three cities would be refunded in full.

The project had been plagued by a series of problems. The initial cost of the tickets — $1,600 for all 18 shows — reportedly caused many to balk at the steep price. “Certainly tickets didn’t go at a rate we had anticipated,” said Triggle.

Pierre Cardin and Chanel refused to participate, and a week before the broadcast Yves Saint Laurent and Guy Laroche also pulled out — after initially agreeing to the deal.

“The whole thing was a monumental error from the beginning,” Cardin said. “I told Mouclier that months ago. You can’t exploit la mode continually. There are too many collections already. No wonder people have gotten tired of fashion.”