Byline: Brid Costello

PARIS — Kitsch, color and semiprecious stones led trends at the Bijorhca and Premiere Classe trade shows held at the city’s Porte de Versailles exhibition complex last month.
In jewelry, larger items in yellow gold and pastel colors led trends, while for handbags, a variety of materials, from fur to straw, attracted buyer interest.
The Bijorhca show featured 230 exhibitors and drew 7,370 visitors over its four days.
“August is traditionally better, as it is closer to Christmas,” compared to January, said Gerd Pfister, director of Stuttgart, Germany-based jewelry firm Diva.
Nevertheless, some vendors reported solid action this time.
“The show has been working very well,” said Ines de Castilho, general manager of Apollostar Design, a manufacturer of crystal body tattoos. “There have been a lot of foreign buyers but not enough Americans.”
Rina Kyprionou, a buyer for Selfridges’ designer gallery in London, was shopping for immediates and didn’t hesitate to make on-the-spot purchases.
“We are pleased with the deals that we have done,” she said. “When we buy, we buy the full story — the earrings, the bracelet, the necklace and the rings — we go for the whole look.”
Key trends at Bijorhca included oversize jewelry and Seventies and Eighties retro looks.
“Big necklaces with lots of beads are very strong,” said Laurence Coupelon, director and designer at jewelry firm Cesare. “This season, I’ve accentuated the colors and made the necklaces longer.”
The Eighties in particular continue to be a growing reference point for many vendors.
“Minimalism is finished,” said Sylvie Kerjouan, buyer for Lorient, France-based store Accessoirment. “I’m looking for fashion jewelry in gold. It’s about big rings and big chains.”
Color and size led many of the buying choices, as well.
“There are a lot of colored stones set in silver with relief that I will buy,” said Michel Aublant, buyer for specialty store M.L., which is located in Gap, France. “There are [also] a lot of opaque and transparent resins.”
Yannick Tortrou, marketing manager of Les Gens du Sud, said its bestseller was a metal-link bracelet studded with colored stones.
“Our cultural base is the frontier with Spain, so we use a lot of color and there is a huge demand for color this year,” he said.
Premiere Classe was smaller than Bijorhca, with 160 exhibitors, attracting mostly European buyers.
Lena Arnstrom-Denaive, marketing director of jewelry firm Dominique Denaive, said the show saw unexpected interest from English, Spanish and German stores, but less American buyers, who usually prefer to come to the March and October showings.
Yann Ducarouge, export manager at Lollipops Accessoires, said handbags remain a strong category. She noted that the two Premiere Classe salons contribute 7 to 8 percent to the group’s sales every year. Top sellers at the stand included straw bags covered with plastic flowers wholesaling from $23 to $35.
Gold was also predominant at the Premiere Classe show, with jewelers working the color into their designs to give them a retro look.
“People want color, it gives [them] the desire to wear jewels,” said Dominique Denaive’s Arnstrom-Denaive. “[Yellow] gold is back — we had an ethnic trend for the past two seasons and it’s still in demand as there’s always a client for that, but we want to do other things, too.”
Milen Bauwens, buyer for two-unit Fetish in Belgium, said accessories are behind clothing trends.
“I think colors are getting richer, now they are also using gold brocade,” he said. “But that’s not reflected in accessories yet.”

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