Byline: Julee Greenberg

NEW YORK — After seven successful years in Paris, Workshop Paris took its first trip to Manhattan.
Created in 1994 by Hortensia de Hutton, who had worked in the fashion industry in paris for many years, Workshop Paris has been one of the most highly attended trade shows in Europe. Hutton said she decided to bring the show to the American market because she sensed a need for a Workshop to be “more reflective of the current cultural climate.”
Held from Sept. 25-28, Workshop NY filled The Space at Chelsea Market. Hutton said that while a venue like that with high ceilings and big picture windows is hard to find in Paris, the set up of the show was exactly the same. It was broken up into four rooms: three reserved for clothing and one for accessories.
“Each room has its own feeling, its own personality,” Hutton said. “Buyers say they have never seen anything like this.”
While some designers who attended Workshop NY were from the U.S., the majority of them were from Europe, Japan and Hong Kong.
Co-sponsored by, Perrier and Ricard, Hutton said she was selective about the designers chosen to participate.
“I was careful about the collections brought here since they all had to be adaptable to the U.S. market,” she said. “Not all of these designers exhibit in Paris.”
Kemi, a Milan-based company, was started by sisters Francesca and Michela Pastori. The inspiration for the debut collection came from the games they used to play as children living in a fantasy world.
“We have not had many buyers, but they all love the collection,” said Manuela Parrino, who works to promote the Kemi brand in the U.S.
Parrino said the line will be sold in Italy and the U.S.
One of the American designers, Fiona Walker, saw Workshop NY as a great opportunity to show off her spring collection in a trade show format.
Walker said that since she grew up in Ireland, she brings a European flair to her work. Walker runs her own boutique in New York on West 46th Street between Ninth and 10th Avenues.
“This show has been great for us,” Walker said. “We are getting new contacts from across the board.”
Designer Anne-Sophie de Campos Resende Santos, from Belgium, was happy to see her collection safe and sound at the show after a delay in U.S. customs.
Despite the delay, de Campos Resende Santos said that the show has been good for her.
“I like to think of the line as affordable couture,” she said.
Hutton said she is happy with the way the show went and plans are already in the works for a return next year. But for now, it’s back to Paris for another Workshop Paris starting Wednesday.

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