PARIS — Following last November’s terrorist attacks, a group of Japanese buyers is to skip the Paris men’s shows, which are slated to run here from Jan. 20 to 24.
“The Japanese government issued a travel warning and our company decided not to go,” said Hirofumi Kurino, cofounder and creative director of United Arrows.
Kurino assured that the department store’s decision would not have any negative impact on its Paris budgets. “We will still buy the Paris collections,” he said, citing look books and private showroom appointments with French brands during the Milan week as alternative channels.
He said his team would be back for the women’s ready-to-wear collections, scheduled for March 1 to 9.
“The cancellations are on a small scale,” noted Bastien Daguzan, managing director of Lemaire, for which Asia is an important market. “We respect the internal policies of our partners and we will find other solutions with them, so that they can view the collection anyway.”
Daguzan noted that it was important not to over-react to the heightened measure in Paris. As reported, fashion houses plan to step up security for the Paris men’s and couture collections since France remains on terror alert following last year’s attacks.
Several other French houses queried echoed Daguzan’s observations.
A spokeswoman for Saint Laurent, which, as reported, is decamping to Los Angeles for its men’s show on Feb. 10, said the number of cancellations at the brand’s Paris showroom was insignificant.
Thomas Deschamps, statistics research manager of the Paris tourist and convention office, observed how “Asian, and Japanese tourists in particular, are the most sensitive clientele [reacting to the risks by canceling or deferring their travels].”
He said Paris remains affected.
In the first half of 2015, following the first wave of attacks, hotel arrivals of Japanese in Paris were down 21 percent compared to the same period in 2014. While numbers aren’t available yet for the full year, Deschamps expects the drop to be even sharper in the second half.
The city’s hotel occupancy rate was down by 24 points on Dec. 31, said Deschamps, citing the MKG Hospitality data. The hotel occupancy rate on New Year’s Eve stood at 73 percent versus 97 percent the year before.