PARIS — Designers praised the level of innovation on offer at the recent Blossom Première Vision trade show here, with exhibitors continuing to up their game to cater to the growing pre-collection market.
Held at the Carreau du Temple in the Marais on July 4 and 5, a new venue that proved popular with both exhibitors and visitors, Blossom saw a sharp increase in traffic, up 20 percent to 1,267 visitors, and for the first time included an evening event on the first day, a private visit to the “Margiela/Galliera, 1989-2009” exhibit at the Palais Galliera. Exhibitor numbers grew 22 percent to 111, including 73 mills, 30 leather producers and eight accessories manufacturers.
“It’s been a great edition,” said Première Vision marketing and development director Chantal Malingrey. “The evening event was a great opportunity to network, and being in the Marais and having a cultural focus allows us to create a concept that really reaches our target market. We’ve reached a new level,” she said of the fifth edition of the event.
“This show is becoming indispensable for us, as it allows us to start thinking about the pre-collections before the summer break, and when we come back we already have a selection ready to begin working on the collections,” said John Galliano collection director Francesca Camugli Caridi. “It’s very inspiring,” she said of the collections on offer. “The mills have been working hard to develop new hands and textures.”
Designers were especially seeking out innovative coat fabrics, with heavy hands and check fabrics high on their wish lists. “It’s good to have a look at all the heavy wools; that is what we’re going to do for winter,” said Julien Sanchez, men’s wear designer for Jacquemus. “There’s nothing amazingly new but we’ve seen some good quality stuff.”
U.K.-based mill Laurent Garrigue was a highlight for several designers. Owner Laurent Garrigue said he was seeing growth in demand from high-end brands in particular. “It’s nice to see we’ve come full circle; the pendulum is swinging back towards a quality fabric. It’s great for me,” he said, adding that designers are less questioning of price as they move back toward quality. Check fabrics as well as bright colors were trending strongly on the firm’s stand, he commented.
“People want special coat fabrics, because for other garments, you can find fabrics at a lower price,” observed Italian mill Lyria’s textile designer Riccardo Bruni. “Designers want checks, fancy fabrics, strong colors and unusual mixes.” The company was presenting new wool fabrics dyed two or three times, including in a vivid yellow, to give the colors more vibrancy, priced at 40 euros a meter, as well as check or velvet linens.
Other highlights for designers included Italian carded wool specialist Monteco. “Monteco surprises me every season,” said Cecilia Bönström, creative director at Zadig & Voltaire, having picked out a plethora of fabrics from the Italian mill. “Their mini-tweed lined with neoprene is really new; it’s a collision between something very classic and very modern.”
For pre-fall, Bönström was shopping for fabrics that offered a mix of dressed-up and dressed-down. “I’m looking for something chic but with an extremely nonchalant effect,” she said.
Manteco chief executive officer Matteo Mantellassi said the firm’s research into raw materials and new blends, especially products with a natural feel, as well as its focus on sustainable development, are driving strong growth. New products included Bi Bye, a wool blend range with a hand feel close to that of cashmere available in 300 colors and a range of different textures, priced at around 17 euros a meter.
“Pre-collection is growing a lot because our clients are starting to think about their collections earlier, not to buy but to think, and for the next two months, we will exchange and develop [the offer],” he commented.
At Scottish cashmere mill Alex Begg, textured fabrics, small checks and Lurex blends were trending strongly, according to design and sales director Emily White. A second-time exhibitor, she praised the uptick in footfall at the show.
Velvet and leather were also high on buyers’ wishlists. “I have a good feeling about velvet and leather; they’re the thing for the next seasons, combined with chiffon,” said Martin Lenthold, former creative director of Jakob Schlaepfer, now working in costume design for Swiss opera festival Origen.
Among the novelties on show, French tweed specialist Mahlia Kent was presenting its midrange line called La Fille for the first time, aiming to tap into a broader market with less complex jacquards and tweeds with prices 50 percent lower than its core offer. “We’ve had really good feedback from less high-end houses,” said a spokeswoman for the company. “The aim is not to cannibalize Mahlia Kent’s clientele or creativity, but to open up to new markets.”
This sentiment was mirrored at silk specialist Les Tissages Perrin, where jacquards, seersucker fabrics and designs with Lurex threads were in demand. “We’re trying to diversify, to open up our customer base,” said company copresident Jean-Hugues Perrin. “We are looking towards a more diverse range of brands, from high-end fashion houses to bridge labels. We will be increasingly working on offering a pre-collection proposition.”