PARIS — An eclectic combination of craft designs, color and natural motifs and materials were some key trends at the recent accessories trade shows here, perhaps synonymous with the more vibrant mood that was evident on stands and among buyers.
Visitor numbers at Première Classe and sister apparel show Who’s Next, held at the Porte de Versailles from Sept. 8 to 11, grew 10.1 percent year-over-year to 42,122. Concurrent jewelry event Bijorhca, also at the sprawling exhibition center at the south end of Paris, saw an equally sharp uptick in attendance with its repositioned offer, with foot traffic up 10 percent to 13,070.
“Both Première Classe and Who’s Next were more qualitative and better organized,” observed Stéphanie Clairet, in charge of accessories collections for Printemps. “There was an extensive offer in creative jewelry and interesting new [propositions] in hats and textiles. There were few new brands, but among those there were, we had some pleasant surprises that we will be following,” she said, adding that the retailer would not, however, be adding new accessories brands for its spring lineup.
While many buyers were still choosing to play it safe, citing stable budgets and a cautious outlook due to a lack of visibility on the market, certain retailers, especially from the French provinces, reported brisk summer business and therefore an increase in budgets for spring.
Christelle N’Haux, buyer for La Petite Tribu, with three stores in Southwestern France, said, “Business is going really well at the moment, we’ve had a great summer and our budgets are up. N’Haux cited silver specialist Canyon and French label By Garance as standouts at Bijorhca. The retailer also stocks jewelry from ceramic specialist Nach, showing at Première Classe.
While some buyers said they were pleased to see a diverse, creative offer at Première Classe, others suggested it made searching for specific trends difficult. “It’s difficult to read the trends at Première Classe, there are so many different styles,” observed Lucile Hochart, a buyer for French concept store L’Exception.
Printemps’ Clairet cited geometric motifs in leather goods and a range of blues and greens, as well as pink hues combined with more classic shades like camel and black as key trends seen in accessories at Première Classe for spring.
Among the highlights, French silk specialist Inès de Parcevaux, founded by the daughters of former Hermès scarf designer Carl de Parcevaux three years ago, was showing a range of scarves and kimonos featuring floral and bird motifs. “We are trying to bring the silk scarves to a new generation by suggesting innovative ways of tying them, for example,” explained general manager Sophie de Parcevaux, whose sister Inès is behind the label’s designs. The brand is particularly strong in Asia, where it is referenced at Isetan, Takashimaya and on Air China, and is in the process of sealing a deal for distribution in the U.S.
Several brands were diversifying into new categories. London-based shoe designer Meher Kakalia, which focuses on rich hand-sewn Indian embroideries and counts actress Sophie Marceau among its fans, debuted a line of bags that had seen strong interest, especially from U.S. buyers, according to a spokeswoman.
Nach, meanwhile, showed off bags and ready-to-wear based on its colorful animal motifs. Now in their second season, the new categories are allowing the brand to open up to new retail segments, said cofounder and managing director Nadia Koch. The label’s T-shirts wholesale for 22 euros, or $26, while a leather cross-body bag is priced 140 euros, or $166.
In leather goods, Malaysian crocodile farmer Porosus was showcasing its own brand of bags made from the precious skin, including a range combining crocodile, leather and reversible wood panels on multicolored designs priced at around 2,600 euros, or $3,092 at retail. The brand has its own domestic boutiques and was looking to recruit international retailers. Italy’s Ziza Style Habits, meanwhile, was a first-time exhibitor with its range of vegan bags made from pineapple leaf fiber, with wholesale prices averaging 60 euros, or $71.
In a category all its own, a crossover between accessories and jewelry, young French brand Kol Paris was another newcomer with what it calls “shirt jewelry” — geometric forms made from leather and printed fabrics that fit under the collar like a graphic bow-tie equivalent thanks to a hidden chain.
As to headwear, Berlin-based Re-Hats, with its caps and hats made from recycled coffee bags, offered something new. Launched in wholesale just two years ago, the brand has around 150 sales points worldwide and is hoping to enter the U.S. soon, said brand founder Stanislaus Teichmann. Wholesale prices for the brand range from 17 to 25 euros, or $20 to $30.
When it came to jewelry, British illustrator Emily Trotter showed off her fun handmade designs in silver and gold plate featuring imaginary Space-Age critters with vintage glass eyes under the Little Rotters brand. Priced on average at 90 euros, or $107 wholesale, her products stood out from much of the more delicate jewelry on offer.
Over at Bijorhca, the offer included newcomer Mouchkine, inspired by Russian kitsch with outsized colorful designs composed from a combination of felt, metal, crystal, ceramic and glass and handmade in France, with retail prices ranging from 80 to 120 euros, between $95 and $143 at current exchange. “We’ve had a lot of attention from potential buyers,” said cofounder Anne-Christine Nadal. “We wanted to counter the trend for minimalist jewelry with something more lively, more colorful,” she explained.
Another standout there was Italian label Altrosguardo, which makes chunky jewelry from precious woods like ebony, combining them with silver and brass details and paper twine. The brand, a first time exhibitor, started out in furniture and household object design several years ago, and only recently diversified into jewelry, cofounder Mattia Menegatti explained.