By  on September 19, 2007

NEW YORK — The Train has found a niche as a trade show for interesting pieces from European designers, but its sidekick, Platform 2, is still finding its track in its third season out.

The two shows shared the Terminal Stores on 11th Avenue from Sunday through Tuesday, but offered different experiences as the more established show is still driving attendance.

Jean-Pierre Mocho, president of Prêt à Porter Paris, the French parent show that organizes Train and Platform 2, said buyer traffic was down 10 percent this year, with traffic strong the first day, mixed the second day and quiet the final day when Coterie started. "The key here is that buyers come to place orders, and most of our exhibitors had very good business," Mocho said.

At Train, there were 101 vendors showing, and next door at Platform 2, there were 53, though vendors there reported slower business.

"We are improving Platform 2, but it's still not perfect," Mocho said.

Paris-based Nathalie Chaize, whose average price point is $120, participated in Platform 2 for the second time, and export manager Valerio Nappi reported a disappointing experience with buyers. "People from the other show are coming in, but those buyers may not necessarily buy this type of product: Train is a more artistic, conceptual show, and Platform 2 is more contemporary and commercial," Nappi said.

Barcelona-based Jordi Labanda showed at Platform 2 for the second time. Buying was light, but the company said it was doing well with its illustrated graphic T-shirts, which wholesale from $60 to $80. "There's not that much traffic, but people are looking for new European collections," said sales rep Ana Yunes.

That desire for interesting pieces from exclusive European lines is what attracts buyers to Train. Arline Sybil owns a showroom in Newton, Mass., that is open 12 weeks a year and has an invite-only client list of 500 women. She came to Train, with slightly higher open-to-buys, scouting for new designers. "I think this is the best show," Sybil said. "The Train has a lot of European influence and interesting pieces with edgy-contemporary style."

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