Eclat de Mode: Escape, to either the past or to foreign cultures, was the theme at Eclat de Mode, where antique-look jewelry and bold ethnic pieces were a hit with buyers. Colors united both themes, with red, green and prune stones and crystals making a strong impression on buyers.
The show drew 7,045 buyers from 74 countries, slightly down from last year, according to a spokeswoman for the show.
Most buyers said their budgets were on a par with last year or slightly up, but vendors asserted that retailers were opting for safe bets and value for money.
“They want jewelry that’s easy to wear,” said Sandrine Reaux, sales representative for Danish jewelry manufacturer Pilgrim, “but [items] that still attract attention and are affordable.”
Ethnic looks are getting a modern spin for next season, according to vendors.
“Call it neoprimitive,” said Paul Louis Orrier, owner-designer at Amok, which showcased such subtle ethnic looks as a three-chain amber necklace wholesaling for $259. “Buyers are responding really well.”
“The [ethnic] trend is doing very well,” agreed Eva Ray, marketing director for France for Polish designer Marcin Zaremski, whose bestseller was an amber and silver beaded necklace for $103.
Sherry Guillon, buyer for three Cherry Chau corners in Selfridges and Harvey Nichols department stores in the U.K., said she liked the ethnic trend. “[I’m looking for] a mix of feminine and bold colors,” she said.
Items with a more delicate, feminine feel were also getting play at the show.
“Buyers like very fine, very worked looks a lot,” said Ruth Azoulay, owner/designer at Elor, whose bestseller was an antique-look necklace featuring pink stones that wholesaled for $37.
Paris-based Helene Marchal, buyer for the 800-square-foot accessories and jewelry store Anael, zeroed in on romantic looks that were showcased at Colleen Toland and Zor. At Zor, the best-selling item was a ring featuring a butterfly with a retail price of $59, while at Colleen Toland, delicate earrings and necklaces featuring blue stones wholesaling from $7 to $85 were getting orders.
Premiere Classe: Fashion and fun collided at Premiere Classe accessories show, held within the sprawling Pret a Porter trade fair at Porte de Versailles.
Embossed and fringed leather bags jostled with fantasy pieces for attention.
Some buyers lamented that manufacturers were overly cautious and erred by showcasing safe trends.”I’m very disappointed, there’s nothing new,” said Christophe Vialleton, buyer for the 11,000-square-foot concept store Jey in Paris. “Trends have not evolved and there are no new names.”
Still, Vialleton said that he planned to increase his accessories spending for the season by 10 to 15 percent this year.
Other buyers were pleased with their finds. Mary Spiteri, owner of Tit Fer Tat, a boutique in Surrey, England, praised the studded bags on display, while Marie Christine Teller, manager of the two-unit Michat boutique in Cannes, welcomed the return of lace as a trimming for accessories. Teller, however, noted that her buying power had been reduced by 50 percent in the wake of Sept. 11 and the economic downturn.
Perhaps because of the gloomy climate, manufacturers were infusing humor into accessories designs.
At the Tenri’s stand, novelty bags featuring Indian imagery and old-fashioned advertising were popular with buyers, according to sales executive Claire-Marie Busnel.
Other novelties included straw bags shaped like laced-up corsets at Poisson Bleu, while teaspoons decorated leather bags at Claude Gerard.
Elsewhere, leather fringe sprouted on scarves and bags.
“There’s a lot of interest in fringing,” said Rebecca Catt, sales director at Roucou Paris, adding that embossed leather was also attracting buyers’ attention.