PARIS — Mode City and Interfilière’s new July positioning has already received the thumbs-up from exhibitors.
This story first appeared in the June 27, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
After six years of debate, show organizer Eurovet moved the event forward to July from September to coincide with collection launches. Mode City will include 50 additional brands totaling 550 at this year’s July 9 to 11 exhibition for lingerie, beachwear and loungewear. Neighboring textiles salon Interfilière, which will showcase lingerie and beachwear fabric, lace, trims and embroidery collections for winter 2012-2013, plus summer 2013, will host 303 exhibitors versus 260 in 2010.
A total of 25,000 visitors are expected at both fairs, which will have a summer travel theme rendered in gold and yellow tones to create a relaxed vacation vibe. Outdoor entertainment, happy hours and dining will complement the warm-weather ambience, while travel agent-style concierges will help VIP visitors with hotel, theater and restaurant reservations.
One positive sign is a number of brands have heftier budgets to exhibit at the fairs.
“This year we see that companies have bigger budgets,” said Séverine Marchesi, Mode City’s manager. “They want to participate in more performance activities and fashion shows. They have regained confidence, though they remain timid. We can see things are taking off again.”
Catwalk shows running two to three times daily are once again full and some brands have doubled the size of their booths. An upscale lingerie and beachwear fashion show called Ultra will kick off the salon and will be staged for the first time at the prestigious Pavillon Cambon. Both Mode City and Interfilière vendors will showcase prototypes for VIP buyers and the media.
But the timing of the trade fair is not ideal for everyone, especially some French businesses that are managing summer sales. Some executives also expressed concern over the July time frame for trend shopping at stores in Paris. In response, Eurovet is offering a Paris guide book for boutiques, hotels, cafes and museums that will give inspiration for original merchandising ideas.
“We are trying to get people out of what they usually see and show them the Paris of the Parisians,” said Marchesi.
Despite the buoyant mood, buyers are still expected to be extremely vigilant about spending and will be looking for key items that are unique.
Industry consultant Jos Berry of Concepts Paris, a trend forecasting firm, said vendors are taking risks well beyond the basics.
“We think the lingerie market is thinking more outside the box,” explained Berry. “The [economic] crisis has made the industry much more creative. In order to catch attention, you have to really stick your neck out.” Berry said the downturn spurred development in Asia in particular, where she sees “an enormous explosion of creativity.”
“Taiwan is developing into the Italy of the Orient,” she said. “They are the most amazing when it comes to application of technical ideas with fashion.”
Among Taiwanese brands to take note of at Interfilière are Be Be Cotton Knitting, Liberty Tex and Tex Tile Enterprise, she said.
Regarding lingerie trends, Berry said shapewear will continue to be important for average and fuller figures in lighter-weight fabrics.
“In shapewear, there is a reflection of a very important young, sexy market that is still growing,” said Berry.
Embroidery and lace will also reflect a major trend of feminine looks, along with growing attention on eco-friendly products. New designers will be given center stage in a Limited Edition area for select brands. At Interfilière, the “upcycling” of reused fabrics will be aimed at small businesses experimenting with lower volumes.
Meanwhile, as brands tiptoe out of the economic crisis, a number of high-end lines, including French lingerie label Aubade, are returning to the show. New seasonal swimwear collections, which typically would have been unveiled a week later at Miami Swim Week, will also be present.
“We didn’t participate last year, because we thought the date was too late in September. July is better for us,” said Ron Grundland, chief executive officer of Gottex. Though 50 percent of its turnover is in the U.S., Gottex will unveil four lines for 2012 at the show, including a New Woman category.
“Gottex gave much more of a free hand to our designers, so that the swimwear is more fashionable, and where the modern woman at age 40 looks 30.…But at the same time, there is the right quality and support,” said Grundland. “We’ve kept the heritage, and we think we’ve managed to turn around the line with a new designer, Molly Grad, and new motivation.”
Vitamin A will exhibit a diverse line of fit options.
“We have brought in the offering of a range of fits,” said designer Amahlia Stevens, who will unveil her Gypset collection in “rich earth tones” inspired by Mexico, and Talitha Getty.
“That feeling of Baja California, where the desert meets the sea, that always inspires what I do,” she said.