By and  on October 13, 2009

PARIS — Budgets and hemlines were both on the rise at the recent round of apparel and accessories shows here.

Reacting to signs of recovery in the global market, buyers picked up bold-colored silks, and biker- and rock-influenced pieces at the events, which ran concurrent with Paris Fashion Week through Oct. 6.

“In our first day, we booked more than in the whole trade show last March,” said Danish designer Charlotte Sparre, who was showing her collection of printed silks at Paris Sur Mode for the second season.

She took large orders from retailers worldwide, including Baycrew’s Group, which owns the Japanese apparel chain Journal Standard.

“We want daring, but wearable and sophisticated,” said Baycrew’s Midori Okada, who snapped up Sparre’s peach-colored Janteloven Superdress, with a mid-thigh hemline particularly popular with Japanese buyers this season. The dress wholesales for 81 euros, or $119 at current exchange.

Okada also ordered a selection of square scarves in the same design, in vibrant violet and citrus green, at 36 euros, or $53.

Retailers at the spring-summer shows Tranoï, Rendez-Vous, Paris Sur Mode, Atmosphère, Le Showroom, Vendôme Luxury Trade Show and the accessories event Premiere Classe cited budgets up 10 to 20 percent, with many saying they’d go higher if something outstanding caught their eye.

“We’re spending a lot more, even though the Japanese economy is still tough,” said Masato Shiga from Bigban, two upscale boutiques in Tokyo and Kyoto.

Some also looked to combine colored silks with tougher items.

“The trends are very rock — the biker look started in New York two seasons ago, and it is now reaching Paris streets,” said Ludivine Gregoire, owner of Ludivine, a New York boutique specializing in contemporary names. “If you associate your leather jacket with a silk blouse and nice pants, it’s rock and chic at the same time.”

Bigban’s Shiga also went for rock, picking up rhinestone T-shirts from I.O.D. by Steven Trussell at Tranoï. The signature design — a teddy bear called Mime holding an AK-47 — was worn by Madonna over the summer. Now Pink and the Black Eyed Peas have commissioned styles from Trussell.

Black and white remained a strong trend. At Rendez-Vous, designer Ostwald Helgason’s new take on the look was a chiffon tank dress with horizontal black-and-white stripes overlaid with large orange and yellow flowers on the lower half. Retailers from Singapore, Dubai, South Africa and Canada snapped up the mid-thigh-length bestseller at 206 euros, or $304. Helgason’s team also reported booking more business in the event’s first day than the entire last season.



Despite increased footfall, show organizers were still keen to impress the innovative elements of each event. At Paris Sur Mode, running for the first time under the same management as Premiere Classe, a new section dubbed Fame aimed to showcase edgier designers than during previous seasons. French label Eyedoll from Los Angeles, revealing its first collection at the event, was inundated with buyers.

Tranoï, meanwhile, dedicated a section of its Bourse event to Scandinavian labels, while at Rendez-Vous, the entrance to the Espace Pierre Cardin showroom was given over to spin-off Web site lenewblack.com. The site, which bills itself as the first online fashion fair, allows buyers to check out collections from boutique designers before and after the shows.

“We’ve had 150 orders placed from big-name retailers after only two seasons,” said its director, Vidya Narine.

Opinion was divided over the trends.

“Pants are definitely back — in leather, cotton or wool,” said Ludivine’s Gregoire.

But others bemoaned the lack of choice.

“We’re looking for the next pant shape and can’t see one,” said Misun Song from Daily Projects, a two-story emporium in Seoul, settling for jumpsuits from Bless.

“No one does good pants anymore,” said Jacques Romann, owner of a chain of eight stores called Teinture d’Iode in Switzerland.

Horiyoshi the Third, a fledgling brand showing at the Salon Zelotti, caused buzz with its high-end collection of men’s and women’s basics printed with hand-drawn designs by traditional Japanese tattoo legend Master Horiyoshi III. The line, which includes accessories and scarves, is produced in Japan in limited runs, using materials such as cashmere and mother-of-pearl buttons.

At Premiere Classe, the accessories fair which celebrated its 20th anniversary this year with a one-off revue at Paris’ racy club the Crazy Horse, dancers wore a range of eye-catching accessories.

“Bangles are the must-have item for spring,” said Debbie Beaumont-Howell, head of beauty and accessories buying for House of Fraser.

Emmanuelle Khanh launched a capsule and bag and jewelry line, carrying codes from its iconic eyewear.

Bestsellers at London-based costume jewelry brand Mawi included its Dynamite line, featuring spiky charms, and its Eighties-inspired “Dynasty” story.

“Joan Collins is already wearing that piece,” said a spokesman of one glam necklace loaded with vibrant faux rocks.

Bags were more low-key, in soft handmade leathers of biscuit and cream.

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