GAINING SCOPE: The Chambre Syndicale-backed Designers Apartment showroom, which showcases young France-based designers, is becoming a compulsory stop on buyers’ Paris fashion schedule.
“Designers Apartment was exceptional,” said Nicole Fischelis, group vice president and fashion director of Macy’s Inc, citing Coralie Marabelle, Mazarine and Quetsche as standout brands among the 11 designers showing at this season’s edition, which closed March 8. “They really are talents to follow.”
Hélène Timsit, one half of design duo Mazarine, which won the Grand Prix de la Création de la Ville de Paris in 2015, said the brand had seen a difference in reception this season, the young label’s second time showing at Designers Apartment — indeed, its “Bladerunner”-inspired fall lineup is only its second wholesale collection.
“We’ve really seen a progression this time,” she said, adding that the label had visits from buyers from Colette and Le Bon Marché, as well as Macy’s, and had also seen interest from retailers in Asia, Spain and Qatar.
Hudson’s Bay Co. senior vice president and fashion director Suzanne Timmins picked out young Paris-based American designer Quoï Alexander as one of her discoveries of the week.
Alexander, another second timer, bases his distinctive style on creating designs without sewing. He created his label in 2014 and recently traveled to India to find production in order to grow his brand. He previously created everything by hand.
Until now, Alexander has sold mainly through his online store and a few pop-up shops, but he had brought in new wholesale orders for fall from retailers in Los Angeles, Egypt, Canada and Paris, he said. Buyers had been picking out his laser-cut lace satin shirts, bonded mesh tops and bags from his collection.
At Quetsche, standouts included burnt-out velvet designs based on Art Nouveau-style theater posters and Klimt-inspired designs adorned with gold leaf. “The brand is starting to build its renown,” said general manager Pierre Chetail. “We have more customers coming back now.”
The other designers present were Coralie Marabelle, who was awarded the inaugural L’Oréal Paris Fashion Grant on March 5; MiniMe Paris, Wilfried Lantoine, Victoria/Tomas, Dawei, AfterHomework Paris, Frater and Kenta Matsushige.
Marie Marquet, the designer behind irreverent label MiniMe Paris, chose the location to stage a theatrical presentation for her fall collection, with the team from her Paris workshop performing the roles of Tim Burton-esque characters from “Alice in Wonderland” to showcase the collection in a smoke-filled haze on March 7.
“We’ve had really good feedback,” said Marquet. “The emoji theme of the collection is very on-trend right now.”
Exhibiting for the second time, however, she was convinced that the weather had kept some visitors away. “It has been calmer than last season,” she said. “When it rains, it’s always difficult.”