Byline: Godfrey Deeny

PARIS — France and Germany may be the joint driving force behind European unification, but when it comes to fashion trade shows abroad, they are gearing for conflict.
Next August in Hong Kong, Profem, the export promotion agency of the French Ready-to-Wear Federation, will launch Hong Kong Paris Prêt, and it almost inevitably will rival Europe Selection — The Stars of Fashion, a multinational fair initiated by German trade show king Manfred Kronen of Igedo.
Kronen and Profem had held talks about jointly organizing a Far Eastern fair, but these negotiations eventually broke down, in part because of a disagreement over dates.
According to Gerard Roudine, Profem’s director general, Hong Kong Paris Prêt is scheduled for Aug. 21-23 and will feature medium to high-quality women’s apparel and accessories; about 100 exhibitors are expected.
Profem plans to spend about $250,000 promoting the event, Roudine noted, and reflecting the close relationship between Profem and the Chambre Syndicale, the governing body for the French couture and designer rtw, the Chambre will stage a grand charity dinner in Hong Kong’s Conrad hotel and a fashion show representing a dozen couturiers.
Two years ago, the Chambre and Profem joined forces to create the Carrousel de la Mode, a fashion-forward fair staged twice yearly in the Tuileries Gardens, which has become an essential rendezvous for buyers attending Paris fashion week.
Commenting on Hong Kong Paris Prêt, Chambre president Jacques Mouclier noted, “Without Asia, the French fashion industry would be in a deep recession. It already accounts for 40 percent of our exports. Our idea is not to sell couture at this fair. It’s to develop the image of fashion brands.”
Mouclier also unveiled a special package deal for young designers, costing around $4,000, that will include exhibition space, flight and hotel to encourage them to bring their creations to Hong Kong Paris Prêt. He expects about 10 designers to take advantage of the offer, and mentioned names like Franck Sorbier, Olivier Guillemin and Jérome l’Huillier.
Among the firms expected to show at Hong Kong Paris Prêt will be about 40 who exhibit at Apparel from France, a small fashion fair that has been staged in Hong Kong’s Shangri-La Hotel for the past three years.
Also, about 10 resources that show in the Carrousel de la Mode’s Atmosphere section will take space at Hong Kong Paris Prêt. According to Atmosphere’s founder and director general Muriel Guyot, Lilith, Andrea Templer, Vanessa Bruno, 31 Fevrier and Ralph Kemp will all show in Hong Kong in August.

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