PARIS — Mix and match was a key trend spotted at the accessories trade shows Première Classe and Bijorhca here.
Some 1,400 brands were represented at Première Classe and Who’s Next, the women’s wear trade show also organized by parent company WSN Développement, which declined to provide separate figures for the joint event. Attendance at the four days of shows at Porte de Versailles was up 3 percent from September 2017 to 43,500 visitors.
Bijorhca’s three pavilions featured 395 vendors, including 117 newcomers. More than 12,000 buyers of 108 different nationalities came to the summer 2019 edition, and 28 percent of buyers were international.
At Première Classe, alongside the usual lineup of leather goods, eyewear, creative jewelry and accessories, a selection of smaller lifestyle brands was showcased in the “Mix and Mixte” selection, which aimed to mirror a concept store’s broad range of products.
“Our role at Première Classe is also to give business trends,” said Frédéric Maus, co-general director of WSN Développement. “We have chosen a couple of small, easily implantable brands that buyers can add to their store.” Ethical sneakers brand Panafrica, Izipizi glasses and State backpacks were part of the lifestyle selection.
This was also the reasoning behind the “Fine Jewelry” section, as well as the new beauty counter, named “La Villa Beauté,” which featured beauty start-ups such as Nailmatic, Joliderm or “clean” cosmetics brand Z&MA. Some of the brands were available for direct sale at the event.
Jennifer Cuvillier, style director at Le Bon Marché, said the new beauty section added “a bit of animation” to the trade show. “I liked the brands that were selected, and the fact that it was all in one space,” she said. “Its position was perfect: right at the entrance of Première Classe, a surprise for repeat visitors.”
Cuvillier singled out a few new brands to be carried at Le Bon Marché for the coming season, and enjoyed the wide range of products that Première Classe had to offer. In the jewelry section, she noted a distinct trend of amulets and simple round heirloom-style pendants.
At Bijorhca, fine jewelry was presented alongside costume jewelry within the Trend section, curated by the trade show’s art director Elisabeth Leriche. According to Aude Leperre, director of Bijorhca, the mix and match trend is a direct result of the blurring of luxury and the mass market.
“A decade ago, you wouldn’t have dreamt of sleeping at a five-star hotel one day, then ordering fast food the next,” she said. “Nowadays, consumers mix fine jewelry with more affordable pieces. There is a lot more freedom in the way people wear accessories.”
As a result, some buyers felt a bit lost. “We came specially for Bijorhca, and we’re kind of disappointed,” said Julie Trassan, fashion accessories manager for French cosmetics brand Adopt. She was looking for easily wearable jewelry to complement Adopt’s range of perfumes in their 140 stores. “Everything is mashed together: you run into brands and manufacturers on the same level.”
Others were surprised by the innovative brands the jewelry trade show had selected. “We’re quite excited by what we’ve seen,” said Tiffany Coppersmith-Heaven, jewelry and accessories buyer for British store Sahara, who cited pleated polyester jewelry as one of her standout finds. “It looks expensive for a reasonable price point, which is always attractive to buyers.”
A standout brand was Oz, a line of digital jewelry with an emergency button that sends out a notification to five contacts. Carrying necklaces, pendants and rings studded with Swarovski crystals, the French brand was launching at Bijorhca.
Coppersmith-Heaven, who buys for Sahara’s 14 U.K. shops, was also happy with the general mood of the show. “I felt last season was a bit flat, buying wasn’t as exciting. This season, you can tell there is a bit more buzz,” she said.
PREMIERE CLASSE AND BIJORHCA HIGHLIGHTS
Product category: Bags
Inspiration: Yue Wei, a China-born designer based in London, created Moonology after graduating from the Royal College of Art in 2015. Her handbags are produced in Italy using high-quality calfskin leather. “The fashion scene in London has definitely been affected by Brexit,” Wei said. “But I still feel like there are many experimental things happening in art and design. I’m always discovering new things.”
Key Styles: The brand’s second collection comes in soft pastel pairings: lilac with moss green, citrus or turquoise details, a color palette inspired by Claude Monet’s paintings at the Tate Modern. A standout piece is the “Luna” bag and its intricate handwoven handle, which takes half a day to make.
Prices: Bags are priced between 460 euros and 590 euros.
Name: Ombre Claire
Product category: Jewelry
Inspiration: Ombre Claire was born in designer Aude Durou’s Belleville atelier. She draws intricate jewelry, mixing her personal inspirations with Saharan motifs, which are then made by local artisans in Nigeria. The designer curated the “Ombre Claire & Family” section at Première Classe, a celebration of contemporary African creativity and knowhow, featuring one-off collaborations for the trade show.
Key Styles: Graphic earrings mixing silver and bronze, totemic pendants on a ribbon-tie necklace, as well as pieces made of exotic wood, like ebony and acacia.
Prices: Earrings start at 50 euros, necklaces range from 105 euros to 175 euros.
Name: Sainte Isaure
Product category: Bags
Inspiration: The daughter of an opera singer, designer Ingrid Monti fell in love with performance at a very early age. A trained dancer, she channeled her passion for bright lights and stage costumes into Sainte Isaure, her line of leather goods. “I’m lucky to be able to reach out to dancers to star in my commercials,” Monti said. “The result is always dazzling.”
Key Styles: Sainte Isaure bags come in either sparkly gold, vivid yellow or PVC. Some styles are customizable: separate shoulder straps can be purchased.
Prices: A bag costs between 300 euros and 450 euros.
Name: Ateliers Nam by L’Indochineur
Product category: Silk scarves
Inspiration: Designed in Paris and made in Vietnam by local artisans, Ateliers Nam’s silk scarves come in a limited run of colors, based on traditional Vietnamese prints, which are often a combination of yellow, green and dark blue.
Key Styles: The team of designers at L’Indochineur is careful not to let any silk go to waste. “We only need 90 centimeters from a 1.14-meter roll of silk,” explained art director Lyla Denoyel. The leftover silk strips are turned into elegant bracelets, and the team plans to expand into laces and pouches.
Prices: A silk scarf costs 115 euros.
Product category: Jewelry
Inspiration: Francesca Paolin’s jewelry is created using 3-D printing, but she was intent on keeping the design process organic. “I like to combine technology with traditional techniques,” she said. “Each item is hand-painted and hand-varnished.”
Key Styles: The summer 2019 collection was inspired by the Italian designer’s time in Ecuador, where she encountered many different ethnic groups. A standout piece is her pair of hot pink Teneriffe earrings in 3-D-printed polyamide that looks almost handwoven.
Prices: Earrings start at 30 euros, with bigger styles priced at 110 euros.