PARIS — With fall trends pointing in just about every direction, retailers attending Tranoï, Capsule and Woman here from March 4 to 7 had largely increased their midmarket spend.
“We discovered many new young designers and today we’re adding more than five new brands per week,” said Arbia Smiti, founder and chief executive officer of online platform Carnet de Mode. “We’re back to simple and clean lines, prints with geometric structure and wavelike lines or florals and vintage imagery, a mix of materials, leather with suede and denim or nylon, and an Eighties pop gamers style; logo prints, pop colors, humor motifs.” New discoveries among a greater on-year spend for Smiti included Italian label Elisa Biroli and Maiami knitwear at Capsule.
“We found a lot of brands at Woman,” said Cécilia Steiner, buyer for Stockholm’s Nitty Gritty concept store. “Like the runway, it’s very diverse, there’s every possible taste; we’re not driven by trends, more style,” she said naming “big, chunky hand knitted pieces” by Australian brand I Love Mr. Mittens and Fay Andrada’s hand-cut metal jewelry as standouts. “It really managed to shine through in my world. Very interesting shapes,” she said.
Lauding the color palette of a more masculine dark green, bordeaux mixed with colors like pink and yellow, Uwe Maier, owner of Bungalow in Stuttgart, was less sold on the season’s mid-shin hemline. “I am not sure about the skirt length,” he said.
Showing its first fall collection at Woman, Italian-Korean label Neul picked up some big new accounts for its storyline taking its stylish but wacky city girl on a farm visit. Think oversize cropped pants in mud brown, a denim skirt, all accessorized with a brooch featuring anything from a carrot to an eggplant. Seeking European department store accounts for its riot of yarn-dyed woven delights, Ace & Jig did brisk business with such items as a reversible capella coat in yellow with a patchwork lapel of shearling in collaboration with U.K.-based designer Milena Silvano.
Retailers were upbeat about the diversity of trends. “Now fashion is changing, going back to the Seventies, we’re looking for new designers, people have got bored with the old designers, they always want something new, fresh and affordable,” said Iona Abdou, owner of Royal Fashion in Cairo. Shopping for just a few pieces from the winter collections to suit Egypt’s temperate climate, she eyed a multicolored fur coat from Giorgio Brato at Tranoï: “It’s a passe-partout, from the morning to the evening, you can wear it with anything.”
“There’s two different directions; the dark, strong, Goth style — how designers are dressing — and then the organic, healthy direction,” said Tera Feng, fashion buyer for Hong Kong Kuan Concept Fashion Co. Feng named Beira, a comfort-led genderless sportswear collection and the minimalistic organic line by Bleu de Cocagne as standouts. Reviving a hand-dyeing technique using woad leaves, each Bleu de Cocagne design is dipped in woad baths until the right shade is reached, a technique for which the artisans have been awarded the label Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant, or Living Heritage Label.
A growing streetwear-fashion storyline was welcomed by Assya Khalidi, owner of Concrete concept store and women’s sneaker store No Boys Allowed in The Hague, as she held up a bejeweled sneaker by Esseutesse. “I wouldn’t wear them but it’s different. Our customers are between 20 and 80 and most of the women who buy sneakers are about 50 years old, I think she’ll buy this.” Browsing Tranoï, Khalidi said her spend was up since “everything is more expensive than it used to be. People are buying more expensive stuff you can use for a long time.”
While quiet was the word in the aisles, the number of planned store openings suggested confidence in the bricks-and-mortar multibrand: Lia Coehlo shopped for Dual Investments’ fall opening of Le 66 in Dubai, Motohiko Anzai, buyer for Japan’s Antelope store was shopping the oversize trend with a 200% hike in budget for a new shops-in-shop concept in an undisclosed department store. “People are ready to do business, and there are some great products” said Kim Patterson, a fashion veteran opening a high-end multibrand boutique in Aix-en-Provence this year. Patterson named Wonderology, a trompe l’oeil Swiss jewelry collection using plexiglas and twill silk scarves by Aquade among her top picks at Tranoï’s Cité de la Mode.
Lauding the clean lines of made in Spain bags at Steve Mono, for “incredible leathers, classic with edge,” Elizabeth Jeffer, founder of luxury bag e-tailer Roztayger said she was raising her budget a cautiously optimistic 30 percent. “There’s so much volatility and it’s an election year.”
Others were less positive. “We’re looking for something different. We’re not finding it. It’s either the same brands, or different brands, same fabrics, same designs,” said Rebecca Schneider, owner of outlet store Mouton à Cinq Pattes in Paris. “I’m seeing a lot of very simple silhouettes, a lot of the same ones,” agreed Yurika Saito, shopping for a Tokyo multibrand store set to open later this year. “I’m looking for strong concepts that stand out in design to make it contemporary.”
With admission to its faire free of charge if you pre-registered online, Tranoï grew visitors 3 percent, showing some 600 women’s wear labels across three locations. Capsule showed more than 90 labels and Woman some 80 collections.