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The Paris fairs, a balancing game

31 Jan 2012


The male fashion weeks of Haute Couture did not shade the winter fair season. The fairs at the Porte de Versailles have proved to be encouraging for the textile/clothing sector so severely tested by the European crisis. “Our trade has to

constantly face the challenges of globalisation. To survive them, we have to anticipate and facilitate encounters and exchanges,” observes Jean-Pierre Mocho, President of the French Federation of Women’s Prêt-à-Porter. The presence of thousands of buyers, distributors and designers has shown that the slowdown in order intake, the fall in textile consumption (-2.1% in France in 2011) and the downgrade from Triple A rating do not amount to an obstacle to visitor numbers to the trade’s rendezvous points.

the products offered and drive forward a global approach so that Paris can remain the capital of fashion,” is how Xavier Clergerie and Bertrand Foäche, the managers of WSN Développement, sum up a complete strategy formulated for a stronger comeback. The products offered, which are more coherent than before, did not disappoint. The eagerly-awaited Who's Next Prêt-à-Porter show, which was announced seven months ago, is an example of this. In four days the new event (a merger of two leading shows) attracted a total of 65,682 visitors. According to WSN Développement, the organisers, the real revelation of the new formula comes from the Mr Brown range: “The buyers, who had come in force, as well as the exhibitors, loudly applauded the orientation given by the organisation, both in terms of the scenographic choices and the selection of brands. The mood and the staging of events with high added value (evening shows, live showcases, trend forum, WAD expo...) also contributed to a clear affirmation of the character of this range.”

No need to change the script! But for an even more successful event, WSN’s goal is to achieve 50% foreign visitors within two years compared with the 32% (or 21,286 visitors) proportion of foreign buyers at this latest show.

This trend was reversed at the Eurovet International Lingerie Show which recorded strong international growth with 18,604 visitors including 59% from abroad, with Italy in the lead, followed by Germany and the United Kingdom. Despite the context, this big lingerie event was a major success: “The general atmosphere was very dynamic and very optimistic,” confirms Hubert Lafont, the CEO of the Barbara Group.

“For our first participation in the show, we are really thrilled with the number of customers who visited our stand. Our contacts from Europe and the Middle East are very satisfactory. Among our visitors, the majority came from France, Belgium, Germany and Spain (…). We have high hopes of significant growth in our sales in the next few months thanks to the contacts we established at this show,” comments Stefan Breitbach of Skiny.

Worthy of note among the most creative exhibitors were ambassadors of Dutch fashion. “Having spent the weekend between Bijorhca, Who's Next-Prêt à Porter and Man, I was pleasantly surprised by the presence of numerous talented Dutch people: Ineke Otte and Mecky Van Den Brink, for example, of Eclat de Mode,” enthused Amanda of the Mindalicious blog. “The Netherlands is rich in brands that are merely waiting to be discovered,” explains Stephen Waals of Wave-Up, the company behind Green Orange, a shop window to help ethical and ecological Dutch brands with their steps towards exporting. So many innovations that show that Paris is capable of maintaining a certain spirit of openness – even at a time when ‘Made in France’ has become a national cause.

From our correspondent in Paris
salon lingerie