Parisian trade shows off to a good start despite dismay over war in Ukraine
Despite the sunny weather this weekend, the atmosphere was not a celebratory one between the fashion players gathered in Paris. The war in Ukraine lingers on people's minds, especially since it follows the two years during which women's Fashion Weeks and professional events in Paris were restricted or canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, dynamism was present in the French capital with the fashion industry being notably supported by a number of fascinating physical fashion shows. Despite the geopolitical context, professionals also returned to trade fairs. At Première Classe, in the Tuileries Gardens, about 250 brands presented their Fall/Winter ready-to-wear, accessories, and footwear offerings. The event was an opportunity to meet the nominees of the Hyères festival and to discover Birimian's selection of African brands. The show organized by WSN Developpement has especially regained its international appeal this edition since almost two thirds of the brands were international.
"This is an opportunity for us to reconnect with European customers," explained Laura Ulrich of the Areia showroom. "Last season, my partner was able to be present in Paris, but I wasn’t able to due to issues related to vaccine doses. It's a real pleasure to be able to return to the fashion capital of the world. We can see that multi-brand customers are looking for novelty and that they are open to creativity and color. We have seen a lot of people since the opening on Friday," she explained.
Italian, English and German visitors came to discover the premium brands at the aisles of the trade show. "There are people who are meeting for the first time in real life for over two years. Technology allowed them to operate during this period with Instalive or online platforms, but they are happy to be able to have their interlocutors in person. But the current context is heavy. The exhibition is always a highlight, a celebration for us. It validates several months of hard work. But what's happening in Ukraine doesn't make you want to celebrate. And inevitably this also has an impact on the visitors' morale. They came, but they're worried."
About fifty Russian buyers canceled their trip to France due to the geopolitical context. In addition, the show recorded the cancellation of the visit of a large Russian delegation scheduled for the Who's Next show in September. This comes as a hard blow since the momentum was optimistic. Nevertheless, for the next session, the 40 people from the WSN Development teams, who will move this Tuesday from their facilities in the 6th arrondissement to La Caserne, will once again put together a proposal with two tents. "I want us to be able to give the ready-to-wear players the opportunity to show their creativity again," explained Frédéric Maus. "This session, we broke down the walls and had to refuse certain requests. For next time, it will be nice to be able to create a strong space for ready-to-wear."
The exhibition showed its support for Ukraine at the entrance of its big tent during this period. Ukrainian exhibitors at the fair also unfurled their flags and were able to convey their message of solidarity with the bombed citizens and refugees.
At the Tranoï show, which also had a large presence of 107 exhibitors and a return to the Palais Brongniart in the heart of Paris, solidarity with Ukraine and fashion players was also key. Designer Lilia Litkovskaya, who fled the bombings with her daughter, was unable to present her collection, but raised a large Ukrainian flag and created a floral installation inside the Palais. A solidarity exhibited at the show, which for this edition had a dynamic scenography and a varied offer.
Tranoï also saw the return of international visitors to its halls during this winter session. "We had newcomers who were able to present their collections in the center of the Palais, while the more experienced players had ample spaces all around," detailed Boris Provost, general manager of the show. "We also welcomed Korean and Italian designers. We are satisfied with the show's growth."
At 16 Place de la Bourse, Tranoï also allowed brands to get in touch with international buyers through its broadcast studio system installed in the Palais. The event also gave pride of place to fashion shows on Sunday, with Korean designers Eenk, Lie, Wnderkrammmer and Doucan.
For the nine Korean designers present at the show within a dedicated space, this edition was certainly special. "It is important for Korean fashion to be present in Paris," explained Sam Kim, who organized the presence of Korean designers in Paris to represent their country's fashion together with Tranoï. "Each designer presents a vision of Korean fashion today, but they are all players who have the logistical capacity to meet the demands of international clients while keeping up with the times. It is also an opportunity for them to be present in the fashion capital of the world."
The halls will close their doors this Monday evening at 6:00 pm
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