WHO’S NEXT AND STREET WAVES: THE RAVE TAKE ON PARIS TRADE SHOWS

Byline: Godfrey Deeny

PARIS — Two youth-oriented fashion fairs added another dimension to the trade shows that dotted Paris last week.
One was Who’s Next, in its second edition, and the other was Street Waves, an exhibition with a heavy unisex flavor and a brand new segment of SEHM, the big men’s wear salon that is staged here twice a year.
Both shows featured apparel that was bright and bizarre, mixing natural fiber fabrics with high tech materials from activewear and sporting logos on almost every surface. Both events pulled active traffic as well and underscored how fast the streetwear craze is growing in western Europe, with new boutiques springing up in capitals and in provincial cities.
Who’s Next was expanded to 80 collections from the 50 at its inaugural edition in September. The event was again held in a circus tent, though next season Who’s Next will move inside a hall in the Porte de Versailles exhibition complex.
Bertrand Foache, an organizer of Who’s Next, said the show attracted 8,000 visitors, 5,000 of them buyers. At one point, a line of several hundred built up outside the tent.
“It’s very good for our image to show here. The idea of Who’s Next is not so much to sell but to give people the taste of the street,” said Luc Rose, president of Keystone, a Belgian line.
Keystone showed bright canvas work jackets with polyurethane coating, black waterproof boots, quilted black nylon skirts and T-shirts carrying such phrases as, “I got my education by video games.”
Like many exhibitors, Rose lamented that there was too much loud music and flashing lights at the fair, which is laid out like an impromptu venue for a rave. Disc jockeys cranked up the sound in the evening to the point that local residents called in the police to stop the partying.
Another exhibitor, Ripost from London, showed skin-tight dresses in Lycra spandex and polyurethane with wild animal prints and tie-dye jogging pants.
Underscoring the show’s wacky and alternative feel, Life Jacket Under Your Seat from France showed a series of vests and jackets made from parachute fabric. Other lines getting attention included Jelly Bean with its tartan minis with pockets and work-jackets embossed with Rastafarian images, and DSL, a new collection from Italy’s Diesel, which presented hairy coats with hoods.
Street Waves, with about 30 exhibitors, was set up in the northwest corner of the main hall of SEHM, a fair that attracts over 50,000 annually.
Exhibitors included Einstein, of Bologna, Italy, known for dressing Italy’s leading club deejays. It showed ethnic sweaters with bright glow effects, plus leather jackets and vests with a futuristic faded look.

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