By and  on September 25, 2006

PARIS — Brands highlighted accessories with an artisanal flair at the Premiere Classe and Eclat de Mode trade fairs, while gold, pendants and pieces reflecting a rock ’n’ roll vibe were key in jewelry.

Combined attendance at Premiere Classe and Who’s Next, which ran at the Porte de Versailles Sept. 1-4, rose 4 percent to 45,658 compared with last year. Eclat de Mode, running concurrently at the same venue, experienced a slight drop in visitors, totaling 11,004.

Despite a slow summer due to a soft economic environment and a focus on the World Cup, many buyers said their budgets had increased 20 percent. Resources said they were boosting their production, as well.

Some buyers noted shifts in accessories trends.

“I’m definitely sensing a change of mood for jewelry, which will channel a harder spirit, a bit more rock ’n’ roll,” said Perushka de Zoysa, contemporary buyer for Selfridges in London.

Bemoaning a lack of standout designers, de Zoysa pointed to British jewelry firm Zoe & Morgan as directional.

Dannielle Bluysen, owner of the 350-square-foot New York boutique Dannielle B., noted a move toward wide, waist-hugging belts.

In terms of bags, the head buyer for the Galeries Lafayette department store in Berlin, Mathias Winsel, said he had expected more constructed designs, but added that he was still seeing silhouettes with softer qualities.

Zayan Ghandour, an accessories buyer for high-end, Dubai-based S*uce, predicted a season of extremes.

“Clutches will be big for spring, as well as roomy bags that can hold as much as you can throw in,” she said.

“We’re after clutches,” echoed Mayuko Oki, buyer for Tokyo-based boutique Tomorrowland, who was hunting for accessories with chains, too.

Los Angeles-based brand Jalda, a newcomer to Premiere Classe, also sold its crocodile-embossed leather clutches with chunky chains.

“Traffic has been slow, but of quality,” said designer Jalda Binder, whose visitors included Urban Outfitters from the U.K. “But I sense the high export prices may be stalling sales.”

Artisanal jewelry made from natural materials stood out at Eclat de Mode.ZenAsia was displaying its handmade jade collection, and at Mink Jewelry, raffia necklaces had strong sales.

Some buyers hope for a gold rush for the spring-summer season.

First-time attendee Julia Rivington, store owner and buyer for Totally Georgeous, an East Anglia, U.K.-based boutique, said, “I would like to see some more gold — but not tacky gold.”

One glitch at the shows came from Premiere Classe and Eclat de Mode switching halls since last season. Premiere Classe moved to hall one from hall five, now sharing space with Who’s Next, while Eclat de Mode moved to hall five from hall one.

“To have so few visits is really unusual for us,” said Asiya Durrani, sales and marketing manager for Erickson Beamon, a New York jewelry firm, on the opening day of Premiere Classe. She expressed concern that some of her customers may have landed at the old hall and been lost to competitors.

“I think it is the wrong combination to have accessories and textiles working together,” said Bruno Muheim, co-founder and designer of Italian evening bag and jewelry company Daniele Cornaggia, which also exhibited at Premiere Classe.

Although certain exhibitors grumbled about being moved to the upper floor of hall one, the cranked-up air-conditioning system went down at Eclat de Mode.

“I like it here, I think it’s light and airy,” said Julia Perrier, owner and jewelry designer of Les Ateliers de La Reine, a French firm that presented its wares at the fair.

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