PREMIERE CLASSE
SUBTLE FEMININITY

Byline: Claire Wilson

PARIS — Spring and summer accessories are showing a definite trend to womanly silhouettes in streamlined interpretations, as evidenced at the recent Premiere Classe trade show here.
Classifications from scarves to shawls, handbags and even chokers all showed sculpted, pared-down — often delicate — looks. Far East and other ethnic influences were still much in evidence, as were nature motifs featuring leaves, flowers and vines.
The four-day show ended Sept. 8 at the Porte de Versailles as part of the Pret-a-Porter Paris fair, which features various groups of exhibitors.
Separate attendance figures were not available for Premiere Classe, but overall attendance was down 9 percent, according to Pret-a-Porter organizers. While some hot accessories garnered orders, several accessories exhibitors reported they found traffic sluggish. They noted bigger retailers that did show up came to see what was new, but said they planned to place orders at the October edition of Premiere Classe, which is a more comprehensive show.
“It’s all part of the process,” said Sylvie Besse, Pazuki, London, a supplier of scarves and stoles. “In general, it was a slow show, but it is only the third time we’ve done it and we did much better this year than we did for spring/summer a year ago.”
Stoles were selling at Pazuki, and Besse said this indicated a trend to dressing up. “People want to go out more,” she said.
The firm’s signature patchwork scarves and shawls, fashioned from Indian, Chinese and Malaysian-inspired prints, often mixed together different weaves of solid silks. Colors were chiefly pale, sorbet shades; some bolder tones like navy turned up in overprinted silk jacquards.
Richard Al, director of Jean d’Utique, a handbag and belt firm based here, found the few buyers perusing his line were not shopping for spring/summer, but seeking to top off fall/winter.
“It’s a new trend. They want bestsellers of the current season,” he said. He also said the show was slow; Asian clients were buying very few things, and the French — most of the visitors — “were being very prudent.”
Jean d’Utique showed tortoise-patterned leather, a newly popular look in stamped or embossed leather, which was seen in other leather goods booths as well. However, Al noted, the hottest item was a funky, Sixties-style shoulder bag made form curly Tibetan lamb with a simple suede strap. “We even had a few orders for those from some Italian customers, and Italians are a really tough sell,” said Al.
Flowers and vines were everywhere: They turned up on bags from Palissade, based here, which were softly structured, satin flocked or tooled in the highly textured leathers that Sylvain Piot, here, combined with PVC-coated Scottish plaids for a dramatic effect. Margaux Alsako, here, showed mesh bags embroidered with garlands of flowers.
Some of the most original flowers were those by Femmes et Fleurs, a six-month-old resource here that showed organza scarves, shawls, hats and small, soft handbags with tender little flower petals nestled between layers of semisheer silk. The offerings were further proof of the strength of shawls and stoles for spring and summer wrapping.
Newcomer Purple Night, here, featured simple lengths of intricately woven paisley cashmere in shades of red and taupe, trimmed with bugle beads, and London-based Calver & Wilson showed crinkly silks and silk and metal combinations.
Understated, feminine jewelry was another aspect of the pared-down but dressy trend.
Dorothy Di Gioia, designer for Charabia Lisaa, here, offered delicate-looking filigree necklaces and bracelets made from lengths of cable that she unwound, then threaded with stones of every description.
Even the signature geometric looks of Viveka Bergstrom, based here, picked up on the new dressier trend. She added blocks of small rhinestones to her well-known line of spare, minimalist metal shapes suspended on leather cords.

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