PARIS -- The four-day Carrousel de la Mode collection of fashion trade shows at the Jardin des Tuileries closed Tuesday, with organizers claiming a 25 percent increase in traffic over the October edition.

Exhibitors were upbeat about buyer interest, though not devoid of complaints about timing and increased costs.

The Carrousel groups the Atmosphere d'Hiver, Paris sur Mode and Groupe des Halles fashion salons with the Premiere Classe accessories show in temporary tents just down the street from the Paris designer rtw shows, making it easier for buyers and the press to cover both.

Last October marked the first time the shows were combined at one site; previously, they had been held at several venues around Paris. But old habits die hard; 31 of Atmosphere's 58 exhibitors stayed at their traditional location at the nearby Hotel Saint-James et d'Albany.

Carrousel director Yves Mouclier, son of Chambre Syndicale President Jacques Mouclier, said he was looking to further tie in the tents at the Tuileries with the designer collections.

"Next fall, we hope to have two exhibitors, selected by the Chambre Syndicale, who will be allowed to stage shows at the Louvre during the ready-to-wear collections," he said.

Mouclier said attendance after three days, the last available count, was 4,052, up 25 percent over all five days last October. The figure refers to the number of stores at the shows and not the total number of buyers.

Although the Carrousel benefits from its proximity to the designer collections, some exhibitors complained that reducing the shows from five days to four, plus the hectic weekend schedule at the start of the collections, made it hard for buyers to find the time to come to the Carrousel.

That problem may be resolved next fall. Mouclier said that since the Paris collections would start Monday, Oct. 10, the Carrousel dates might be pushed back to the end of the week, easing conflicts. Meanwhile, at Atmosphere, some exhibitors complained about steep rate hikes. Prices per square meter at the Carrousel jumped from about $394 (2,300 francs) in October to $428 (2,500 francs) in March.

In terms of trends, layering was important. There was also talk at a few exhibits that U.S. buyers were not particularly price sensitive this time around. But this was far from universal, and many exhibitors put their less-expensive foot forward.The Belgian firm Anvers, for example, was showing its less-expensive line of casual separates, Simple d'Anvers, for the second season. "It's our way of combating price resistance," explained Martine Julien, who represents Anvers in the U.S.

Maria Drogo, an Italian designer whose firm is based in Barcelona, Spain, won praise for her efforts on prices from Karen Daskas of Birmingham, Mich., whose store Tender caters to 20- and 30-year-olds.

"The fabrics are great. She has a lot of style and the prices are good," Daskas said. "I just received her spring collection and sold 11 pieces in less than two hours."

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