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WWD Paris Preview issue 07/26/2011

For the fall trade shows in the French capital, retail wish lists are about as diverse as the markets they serve. Bright — even neon — colors remain important, as do prints and exotic textures and materials.

This story first appeared in the July 26, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Many buyers will be scouting that must-have accessory, which has to jump out at them from the wealth of young brands that will be showing, to complement their ready-to-wear offer from the designer labels showing on the runways. While American buyers are still attentive to price because of the strong euro, most say that they will pony up for items they really love.

Here’s what retailers had to say.

Ed Burstell, managing director, Liberty: “We are looking for a combination of immediate deliveries that could impact holiday sales as well as early spring receipts. In accessories, we’re looking primarily for hats, scarves, casual bags and small leather goods. Trends include vibrant colors, floral and geometric prints and lightweight fabrics, such as tissue cashmere.

“Jewelry is also on our radar, but is a price-sensitive category needing newness and originality. Price points will be a tiered approach with entry-to-mid-level, with higher prices coming from designer collections.

“At the rtw shows, we’re looking for color and print, fabric versatility, casual outerwear and interesting knitwear. In footwear, we’ll look for the editorial shoes from the runway collections.”

Lincoln Moore, vice president and divisional merchandise manager for handbags/accessories; fashion director of women’s accessories/shoes/jewelry, Saks Fifth Avenue: “The accessories team at Saks is always looking for differentiated fashion product — especially in Paris at the trade shows. We search for product that is emotional, trend-right and reflects the mood seen on the runways.

“Trends in handbags and shoes will…feature beautiful colors and pieces that are rich in fabrics, including mixed materials and exotic skins, like python. For jewelry, we’ll look for fashion and fine jewelry collections that speak to the Saks fashion customer and that are designed with a strong aesthetic.”

Jennifer Mankins, owner of the Bird boutiques in Brooklyn: “I always look forward to the Paris shows. I especially love the accessories collections, jewelry and shoes I find there. Judging from the direction of the resort collections, bold, bright colors and prints are going to be very big for next spring, so I’ll look for corresponding accessories. Now that the dollar is weaker again I have to be careful, so I will be looking for affordable, fun collections — nothing too dark, serious or expensive.”

Ken Downing, senior vice president and fashion director of Neiman Marcus: “Color is always at the top of our list, as it works with our customer. This time, we’ll be looking for varied shades of pink, particularly that hot pink color we have been seeing a lot of, and DayGlo shades and neon accents that are giving special contrasts. Color blocking will continue to be a key theme, and we’ll also be looking for the scuba influence with piping.

“Print continues to be very important into spring, particularly florals, spots and stripes. In terms of shapes, we are looking for silhouettes that are flattering for the feminine form. We hope to see body-conscious dresses on the runways and at the trade shows.

“In accessories: colorful handbags and shoes to complement the clothing. Color with color is an important theme.”

Ludivine Grégoire, owner of Ludivine boutique in New York: “This fall in Paris, I’ll be looking for silk color pieces with prints, summer pants and cross-body lady-like bags. Because of the strong euro, I am more careful regarding quantity when the price point is too high. However, I will always buy a piece that I love.”

Pascale Camart, director of women’s wear buying, Galeries Lafayette, Paris: “At the trade shows, I will look to confirm color trends and especially unmissable products to buy in volume, for example the Chinese pants that were hot for this summer. I will also confirm new, small brands to link with our events for the coming year. It is important to meet a maximum number of brands in a minimum amount of time.”

Andrea Selvi, senior buyer for formal men’s wear and shoes, Le Bon Marché, Paris: “We will look for originality, because we already know most of the brands. We will go to Première Classe in both September and October, but it is the October edition that’s the most interesting, for example, for unisex hat and scarf brands.

“We’ll scout for brands that are showing something new or that have changed positioning, particularly non-European brands, as we do not always have time to attend the shows in New York and Las Vegas. Price positioning is not an issue for Le Bon Marché.”

Ikram Goldman, owner, Ikram, Chicago: “I don’t go to the trade shows to buy ready-to-wear, but to look for accessories like interesting jewelry and handbags. I’m dying to find a great sock collection to complement my shoe offer, and there aren’t a lot of people out there doing socks.

“I’m interested in fun costume jewelry that makes sense for the season. I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for, but when I see it, I know. When I love it, I buy it, and I don’t look at the price; it’s more interesting to present your client with items that are meaningful and fabulous. My new, bigger store, which opens on Wednesday, will allow me to showcase things in the right way, rather than offer more brands.”

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