PARIS — Salon de l’Homme, the Paris-based consumer fair for men that is slated to run here until Sunday, has acquired fine watches fair Belles Montres, an eight-year-old specialist fair previously belonging to French magazine Le Point, which in turn is part of Kering.
For its second annual edition, the three-day event also teamed with online retailer Mr Porter, as its brand roster jumped to 100 from exhibitors from 60 in 2014.
Visitor numbers are expected to double to 20,000 thanks to the merger.
“This is one big pop-up store — much like an art fair,” observed Jerome Dernis, who founded Salon de l’Homme with Caroline Clough-Lacoste and her brother Antoine Lacoste. “The difference is we sell anything from an organic fruit juice for 5 euros to a Formula 1 car for 500,000 euros.”
The enlarged offering now spans fine watches, including Lange & Söhne, Czapek and Vacheron Constantin, along with fashion, sports and lifestyle, leaving the floor to brands such as Cifonelli, Le Loir en Papillon, Meyrowitz and Clarins next to private jet airline Aston Jet and as well as two art galleries.
“It’s a customer fair rather than a trade fair which is why it is interesting. It brings together the men’s world, and not many people do that. It is nice to come here and see a wonderful vintage sports car next to some grooming brands, clothes, and fantastic watches — all under one roof,” noted Jeremy Langmead, brand and content manager of Mr Porter, which is sponsoring the event and has printed a special edition of Mr Porter in French.
“It is a first — and there are more to come I very much hope. Eventually we would love to do multi languages. It’s just logistics, but we will get there at some point, I would hope in five [years],” he said.
Teaming up with Salon de l’Homme is enticing for the men’s e-tailer from two perspectives: brand visibility and growth, he noted.
Toby Bateman, Mr Porter’s new managing director, said: “France is an important market for us. It’s still relatively small compared to America or Germany, but growing fast. It’s the second biggest business for us in terms of brands, after Italy, which is phenomenal. And that’s grown a lot in the last few years with people like Ami and Kitsuné,” he said, also citing Saint Laurent, Givenchy and Lanvin among bestsellers.
Mr Porter is also eager to expand its online lifestyle offering beyond fashion, which jibes well with the luxury gift fair’s clientele, Bateman noted. “Ready-wear is still the bulk of our business, it’s over 60 percent, but we’ve also got books, audio, grooming, home, and fine watches is a category that we are trying to expand. We just launched Zenith, for example, adding to Bremont and Junghans that we’ve had previously, so we are developing that.”
Added Langmead: “We want Mr Porter to be a one-stop style shop in a single location.”
As for Salon de l’Homme, Dernis has reiterated his plans to take the fair to Miami and Dubai as well as Doha. “This year we took the watches on board, which was a big piece to swallow, but Miami is next,” he said, pointing to 2016 as a possible launch date.