PARIS — Brands with a creative point of difference topped the agenda for buyers attending the Tranoï Homme, Rendez-Vous Homme and Capsule trade shows here. Staged at various locations around the city, the three-day events ended on Jan. 24.
“We love Paris for our client who is looking for something unique — interesting design details, a different silhouette,” said Lanita Layton, vice president and general merchandise manager of men’s at Canada’s Holt Renfrew. “It can be anything from a hand-tooled belt to a supple laser-cut leather jacket — as long as it has a different viewpoint and fills a niche we feel is missing from other areas.”
Layton praised the use of strong colors across collections, and monochromatic looks. “It will be a strong outerwear season again, and we feel that knitwear will be strong for us with the new silhouettes, rich textures and use of pattern,” she added.
“At these shows, we have had quite a bit of success identifying new collections that we test in a few doors and hopefully roll out to more as they prove themselves,” commented Bloomingdale’s vice president and men’s fashion director Kevin Harter.
A number of brands cited strong sales of knitwear. Among them, Riviera Club, which showed at Capsule, saw strong demand for its new line of sweaters. The fledgling Santa Barbara, Calif.-based label also introduced a line of hats made in collaboration with Stetson.
Among other introductions at Capsule, luxury Canadian leather goods brand Want Les Essentiels de la Vie had hooked up with tailored men’s swimsuit brand Orlebar Brown on a navy beach bag set.
Maxime Vanjils, an assistant buyer for Brussels-based store Rewind, cited favorite finds at Capsule including chinos by Libertine-Libertine and colorful Fair Isle-style sweaters by Morrison.
David Saunders, founder of the hip London-based David David label, which will launch a capsule collection for Topman in September, said the show had been busy, with a strong presence of Asian buyers. The label’s bestsellers included polka dot T-shirts.
At Rendez-Vous Homme, quirky British brand Antoni & Alison launched a line of men’s cashmere knits. Inspired by Fifties knitwear, the 17-piece collection is worked with quirky, sketchlike versions of traditional patterns like argyle, Fair Isle and Duke of Windsor. Wholesale prices range from 60 to 120 British pounds, or $95 to $190 at current exchange. Several Japanese stores and ubercool Ontario boutique Jonathan & Olivia were among the takers.
Despite low attendance from American buyers at Rendez-Vous Homme, organizer Nic Jones said business had been extremely brisk over the three days, with an overwhelming majority of Japanese buyers. “It’s been very busy — our best men’s show in ages,” he said. The show saw 1,500 visitors from 600 retail stores.
Adrian Gibson, men’s casual and contemporary buyer at the U.K.’s Harvey Nichols, had shopped Capsule and Tranoï. “I thought Tranoï was really dark and moody this time,” he said. “The only thing that stood out was Vanities’ jewelry collection. Their hand-carved skulls on strips of fabric looked really cool, and chunky silver from Werkstatt was really nice.”
Vanities designer Thomas Franc said the brand received orders from Opening Ceremony at the show. The French brand offers bracelets and bow ties made from reclaimed fabric and adorned with a bone skull hand-carved in Kenya. The line is sold in around 100 points-of-sale, mainly in Asia. Bracelets wholesale for between 18 and 27 euros, or $25 to $37 at current exchange, while bow ties are priced between 45 and 65 euros ($61 and $89).
Opening Ceremony also bought 10 designs from Dutch tie-maker Jupe, which offered hand-embroidered ties in various thicknesses, and designs to order. Founder Jackie Villevoye said that although her idea of launching the brand 18 months ago was to offer a trendy tie for women, the line caught the attention of men’s wear buyers too. Wholesale prices for the collection range from 38 to 54 euros, or $52 to $74 at current exchange.