PARIS — Mirroring the runway, rich textures ruled at the recent Premiere Classe trade show here, from velvet and quilting to fringes and furs, and with accessories back in the forefront for the fall 2015 season.
Visitor figures remained stable at the four-day event — themed around the Parisian woman — totaling 16,490, with a 3 percent uptick in French visitors and a 7 percent drop in foreign traffic.
The struggling euro meant that exhibitors were taking fewer creative risks, with Europe-based retailers prioritizing safe sells. Buoyed by the strong dollar, American buyers were in a more spontaneous, shop-happy mood. “For Americans, we’re happy as we can finally afford to be here,” said an upbeat Joey Wölffer, founder and creative director of boho-luxe accessory truck The Styleliner. Her favorite collections included Loup Noir, for their prints and quality of scarves; Coops, a “very cool, interesting way of doing earrings,” and Catherine Osti, a Paris-based brand specializing in “jewelry cuffs” (shirt cuffs embellished with gems, lace and braids), whose namesake founder cut her teeth in Chanel’s tailoring workshops.
“It’s great because we can buy a lot more, we’re able to have a richer selection and add on new labels,” said Saloni Mahendro, assistant buyer at Weathervane for Women, a high-end women’s designer boutique in Santa Monica that carries the likes of Comme des Garçons, Yohji Yamamoto and Dries Van Noten. She singled out Bonne Maison’s socks with their “fabulous prints” and Valeur’s hats — “so beautiful, and made with such care, but also functional.”
For Jennifer Cuvillier, head of style at Le Bon Marché, “accessories are really key this season and really make the whole difference to the silhouette.” Staples include hats with leather accents, natural leather bags in neutral tones, chunky knits mixed with fur, and new twists on the chain necklace, with encrustations or resin. “There’s this rock-gypset [bohemian jet-set] thing going on, it’s all about vintage finishes on metals, a flea market feel hooked on long earrings and long pendants and mixes of materials and stones,” she added, citing a wintry palette of burgundy, camel, green and navy.
Dominique Testu, the new style director of the footwear license for the Opéra National de Paris, presented a dance-inspired collection for the city spanning jazz, ballet, tap dance and ballroom-flavored shoes and booties.
Sylvia Toledano, who is readying a Paris store, with an opening party slated for Paris couture week, presented embroidered minaudières carrying phrases like “Le Chant Des Sirènes” (or “Mermaid Song”). “Next season we plan to launch soft bags with embroideries so I see these as the transition from my signature crystal minaudières,” she said.
London milliner House of Flora hooked up with cutting-edge Berlin-based jewelry label VOJD on a 3D-printed jewelry capsule dubbed “Eiffel.”
Graphic motifs like the evil eye and perfume bottle appliqués knitted from wool and cashmere enlivened Maison Fabre’s glove collection. The brand plans to commercialize its scented talc this fall, offering three varieties: Joséphine, Médicis and Marie-Antoinette, with the latter based on the l’Eau d’Ange scent worn by the ill-fated queen.
Buzzy stands included Macon & Lesquoy, a Normandy-based brand specializing in mechanical and hand-embroidered patches in playful motifs like biscuits, matches and mini suitcases. “We call them repair patches as they started out as a solution for patching over moth holes,” said cofounder Anne-Laure Lesquoy.
Retailers spoke of a more structured, ladylike turn for bags, though the bucket bag hogged the spotlight.
Ear embellishments continue to flourish in jewelry. “Fine jewelry brands are doing more modern designs, edging on costume jewelry, with lots of single earrings, ear cuffs, mismatched earrings,” said Rathna Sharad, founder of Runway2street.com, a Seattle-based e-commerce site specializing in emerging brands that plans to expand from 27 to 100 countries in the next quarter.
“It’s all about fine jewelry that looks costume,” echoed Samson Soboye, whose lifestyle boutique, based in Shoreditch, London, has an Afro-luxe focus. “Yellow gold and rhodium are big,” he added.
Ginger Sony, founder of Shanghai-based multibrand boutique Zeitgeist, lauded O-fée’s collection, saying: “It’s fashion forward, made in France and of a high quality.”
“Exhibiting here gives us more credibility in the fashion arena,” said London-based jeweler Charlotte Valkeniers, who has been nominated for the New Designer category in this year’s U.K. Jewellery Awards. Of her architectural collection she said: “More and more buyers have been encouraging me to take more of a unisex direction.”
Highlights at Tatty Devine, who designed the jewelry for Claire Barrow’s fall 2015 show, with earrings emulating scarves blowing in the wind, included a magazine collage necklace based on printed Perspex copies of cutouts from Eighties magazines.
Mawi, known for its bold costume jewelry, presented its Thief & Dealer bag line, featuring faux-croc Kelly-style clutches and handbags in embossed calf with tongue-in-cheek brash words like “Thief” and “Dealer” spelled out in crystals. The words also surfaced on a line of knits introduced by the house, alongside more glamorous terms like “Sapphires” and “Emeralds” that curved around necklines. The idea is that jewelry can then be layered over them.