By and and  on July 22, 2008

NEW YORK — The number of visitors attending last week's round of international textile shows here grew despite fewer mills exhibiting and buyers facing mounting pressures to control costs.

Foot traffic was brisk at Première Vision Preview, which ran Wednesday and Thursday at the Metropolitan Pavilion and featured a lineup of 116 mills. Philippe Pasquet, chief executive officer of Première Vision, said he felt comfortable that the show had established itself as a vital part of designers' and buyers' development processes.

"I think now it's a real rendez-vous for the American market," Pasquet said. "People are planning their process by including this appointment."

The weak U.S. economy and the poor dollar-euro exchange rate are unavoidable realities for the bulk of mills exhibiting, but Pasquet draws confidence from the show's ability to continue drawing a steady crowd.

"After 17 editions, we still have a very good level of participation from exhibitors and visitors in spite of the economic climate," Pasquet said.

Show organizers said attendance increased slightly to about 3,800 visitors. Pasquet attributed the show's popularity to the special and innovative fabrics offered by mills. Pasquet said he devotes a substantial amount of time to achieving that assortment, spending about a third of the year visiting 30 to 40 of the mills that exhibit.

"Creation is a hectic process and you have a real understanding of this only if you go visit the mills," he said.

The show featured newly developed fabrics for the fall 2009 season, as well as fabrics from the previous spring 2009 edition. Intricate embroideries and boiled wools with an incredibly soft hand showed the softer side of textural fabrics, while electric metallic takes on the season's most popular patterns punched up the volume on smooth surfaces. Many of the more innovative pieces vendors plan to exhibit at the Première Vision show in Paris in September, were still in trial phase during the preview. To pick up the slack, exhibitors stacked their booths with favorites from the past season.

"The New York preview happens so early in the schedule that we find immediates are still valuable to designers planning their next collection," said Première Vision's fashion director, Pascaline Wilhelm. "The show is tailored to the American market and some pieces people may have missed in Paris or at the last preview are here for them." 

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