PARIS — Footfall and spending budgets were higher versus last year at four boutique apparel shows that took place March 3-6 in tandem with the runway shows here.
Exhibitors at Paris Sur Mode, 19Vendome, Tranoi and Atmosphere d’Hiver cited an increase in American and Italian retailers, as well as strong attendance from Asian countries.
Buyers were enthusiastic about the trend toward Eighties cuts as seen on the runway.
“Any new, drastic trend is good for business, as our clients will buy more new clothes,” said Christina Makowsky, who was shopping at 19Vendome for Georgina stores on Long Island, in New York. She picked narrow pants and structured jackets as key looks for the season.
Browsing BodyAmr for jerseys, Nicole Robertson, fashion and buying director for Villa Moda in Dubai, welcomed the subtle revisit of the Eighties, since “it’s sophisticated and clean.”
Ed Bucciarelli, president and chief executive officer at Henri Bendel, lauded “refined cleaned-up silhouettes and a sophisticated color palette that is still feminine and glamorous.” He noted a “strong emphasis on the leg, from the slimming down of pants silhouettes to legwear worn with layered skirts and dresses.”
Shopping for “beautiful coats, capes and neutrals,” Beth Buccini, an owner of Kirna Zabête, said she was noticing “more layers” in looks.
Several retailers said they would carry fewer brands next season. “We’re narrowing our matrix; we spend more with the vendors we do well with, and so there are fewer extras,” said Anne Friday of Razook’s in Connecticut, who was reordering Allegra Hicks at 19Vendome.
Likewise, Baby Burstyn, founder of Baby & Co., a 3,000-square-foot store in Seattle, said, “Women do want to be surprised, so we buy few, but buy well.” Burstyn said she was spending more at European shows this year.
Shopping Somi at 19Vendome for his boutique Kamishibai in Beirut, Ralph Eid said that after holding back spending in recent years, his budget was up 15 percent this season. Eid said he was looking for elegant eveningwear such as that on offer at Temperly.
At Paris Sur Mode, traffic in the first two days exceeded visitor totals last season, said organizer Muriel Guyot. She noted a strong presence of American, Italian and Japanese buyers like Yuko Hayata of Tomorrowland in Tokyo. She was shopping for jersey dresses and chunky knits that sold well last year, noting her spending would increase 20 percent this year.
Paris Sur Mode’s 100 exhibitors included 18 new brands, including Paris-based Berenice, which took orders from local boutiques and foreign ones, including Fenwick in London.
At Atmosphere, Holly Hikido, who was presenting her shirt collections Clementine and Pixie, noted an increased presence and swift order-taking from American and Italian specialty stores, whereas she found there were fewer bigger stores visible. Buyer Fabrizia Baldelli, owner of Tricots Roma in Rome and a new boutique, 127 on Brick Lane in London, agreed, noting that her spending was up.
At Tranoi, organizer Michael Hadida noted that “the numbers have never been better,” with 230 exhibitors showing in three locations: the Palais de la Bourse, the Bourse du Commerce and Avenue Montaigne, which were organized into mainstream/jeans, avant-garde/designers and evening categories, respectively.
“Tranoi, in particular, showcased many exciting trends driven by interesting new designer resources,” said Bendel’s Bucciarelli. He picked “Sixties-influenced silhouettes and edgier rocker-inspired looks” like those at Giorgio Brato, as key trends.
Brussels-based brand Andy Warhol, which bowed this season at Tranoi, tapped Paris-based designer Josephus Thimister to create a collection around the late artist’s icons and heroes. A little tweed skirt suit with a cropped jacket inspired by Jackie O was a strong seller, said commercial director Vincent Defontaines.
“We are in line with the new minimalism, paying special attention to cut, shapes and fabrics,” he said. “Bouclé, lamé and fur are all working well this season.”