By  on February 23, 1994

NEW YORK -- Geoffrey B. Small is convinced the only way to get the attention of American retailers is to show in Paris. Small, a Boston designer who has already participated in trade shows in Paris, is determined to get more of that attention this season by staging his first runway show there.

A man who is gaining a reputation for recycling clothes into deconstructivist looks, Small has shown at the Paris sur Mode for two seasons. He will exhibit there again March 5-8, as part of the Carrousel de la Mode trade fair. His runway show is slated for March 9 and his name is carried in the "by appointment" list on the calendar of the Chambre Syndicale, which organizes the Paris designer shows.

"I got orders from stores that I probably would not even be able to get an appointment with if I were calling them from Boston," Small said of his Paris ventures.

The designer, who is already known for his men's wear and owns a signature store on Newbury Street in Boston, got first-time orders during the October Paris sur Mode show from Barneys New York's Madison Avenue store; Heshy in Brooklyn; Gitobet, Edgewater, N.J., and Andria, Bal Harbour, Fla.

Small's line is also sold at Ron Ross and Gallay Melrose in Los Angeles and IF Boutique in SoHo. The firm's annual wholesale volume for its women's wear is nearing $100,000.

He will stage his runway show at the Hotel Intercontinental where, he points out, Rei Kawakubo staged her first Paris show in 1981. Only about 50 guests will be invited, with about 10 of those invitations going to press.

"If you want to be creative and avant-garde, it's hard to do it from America," said Small. "So for the young guy who's doing avant-garde and doesn't have money, you go to Paris to make your name and then, as a result, you make your money here."

He plans on bringing a show strong on Americana to Paris -- but not the Americana of baseball and apple pie. Rather, most of the models will be Boston club kids he uses in his shows there, and the music will be the newest techno-rave mixes from Los Angeles. "I'm also dumping the use of the word 'recup,' which means recycled in French," Small added. "I'm going back to using 'recycled,' which is my culture. To make a stir in Paris, you have to do something really different, and we're planning on that."

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