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Translated by
Nicola Mira
Oct 1, 2020
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Paris trade shows pull together, adapting to Covid-19 restrictions

Translated by
Nicola Mira
Oct 1, 2020

On September 23, France’s Health Minister Olivier Véran announced the introduction of a new set of measures to contain the renewed rise in Covid-19 cases in the country, including restricting public gatherings to a maximum of 1,000 people. Despite this, the Parisian fashion and accessories shows scheduled at the Tuileries gardens have decided to go ahead as planned: Who's Next, Première Classe and Man/Woman will be held as scheduled on October 2-4, and the same applies to Silmo, on October 3-4.

The fashion shows held at the Tuileries gardens in Paris are ready for an unprecedented edition in the midst of the health emergency

Fashion accessories show Première Classe will host 70 exhibitors, far fewer - due to the health emergency - than the over 400 exhibitors usually featured at the event's autumn session. Of these 70 brands, 43 hail from France, like footwear specialist Avril Gau, leather goods label Herbert Frère Sœur, and Inès Olympe Mercadal, which will present its first home decoration collection, notably featuring a tableware line, in addition to its vintage-inspired footwear.

Italy, with 16 exhibitors, will be the second most represented country at Première Classe. Among the Italian brands on show, footwear specialist Mami and leather goods brand Vive la Différence. A handful of Belgian, Spanish and Dutch labels will also exhibit at the show.

According to the list provided by Première Classe, only two brands will be exhibiting for the first time: Scottish eco-sustainable leather goods brand Rocio, and French brand Maison Dacry, the latter presenting a product that is absolutely essential at the moment: a type of face mask that is said to last up to seven times longer than traditional masks.

Nearly 140 exhibitors at Who's Next and Impact

Trade show organiser WSN Développement has also decided to make room for the Who's Next show, which had to postpone the session usually held at the beginning of September at the Porte de Versailles exhibition centre in Paris. The organiser, led by General Manager Frédéric Maus, told Who's Next exhibitors it could make available one of the three Tuileries gardens marquees usually occupied by Première Classe during the Paris Fashion Week (scheduled from September 28 to October 6).

“This will of course be an atypical edition,” said Maus, adding that “the situation is extremely unusual and there will be a dearth of visitors, and of foreign brands. But we believe it's our responsibility as show organisers to offer industry professionals the opportunity to meet in person, have a forum for debate and be able to start doing business again. We received feedback from many visitors saying they are keen to come to the show for these reasons. And following the measures announced [by the French Health Minister] on Friday, we know we’ve set everything up to be able to welcome visitors in the safest possible environment.”

Masks must be worn at all times, turnstiles at the marquees’ entrances will keep track of visitor numbers, while social distancing and hand sanitizer use are a must.
Altogether, over 140 ready-to-wear, footwear, accessories and jewellery brands will showcase their collections at Who's Next. Among them, regular exhibitors like La petite étoile, 0-105, Nat&Nin, Not Shy, Ma petite plage and Diega.

Brands with an ethical approach, and those that put a premium on sustainable materials, will exhibit at the Impact show. Besides their physical presence at the event, they will also be reachable through Vimeet, a new virtual tool introduced by WSN to compensate for the absence of visitors and exhibitors, enabling buyers to make contact digitally.

Man/Woman joins in too

This autumn show session in Paris will be a collective effort. Among the labels whose presence is expected, there is Veja, one of the exhibitors at Man/Woman. The trade show created by Olivier Migda and Antoine Floch is usually held in place Vendôme, but will be joining the other events at the Tuileries gardens this week. Man/Woman ordinarily attracts over 150 exhibitors, some of them renowned international labels. For this edition, numbers will be much reduced.

“The industry, us included, has experienced a great deal of uncertainty at all levels in recent months. But we have been exchanging views about the situation with the WSN team for several seasons. And being present is important,” said Floch, adding that “right now, we must set the wheels in motion again. Initially, it was clear that many people wouldn’t be able to travel, and we thought we'd refocus on Europe. But the latest health protection measures have further reduced our scope. There will be some exhibitors, among them Bourrienne Paris X, Trois petits points and Coralie Marabelle. Buyers have assured us they will attend, and the same goes for department stores. Adjusting to the new reality is crucial. The industry needs an opportunity to meet and exchange views, to find new motivations.”

Following this collective approach, Première Classe will showcase collections by six former finalists of the Hyères fashion festival, of which the show is a partner: Christophe Lhote, Guillem Rodriguez, Kate Fichard, Marianna Ladreyt, Martial Charasse and Tina Schwizgebel. Première Class is also a patron of ANDAM (the French national association for the development of the arts and fashion), and will sponsor an exhibition presenting the four winners of the ANDAM prize 2020.

Silmo adopts smaller, itinerant format

There is strength in numbers, and international optics show Silmo too will be held at the Tuileries gardens this season, in parallel with Who’s Next, Première Classe and Man/Woman. “A fortunate consequence of this unprecedented crisis, Silmo Hors Les Murs will be launched in Paris in collaboration with benchmark fashion industry show Who’s Next, marking a significant step in the partnership we began with Première Classe five years ago,” said Amélie Morel, president of Silmo.
Some 50 exhibitors, instead of about 1,000 as usual, will gather together under the Silmo marquee, including French brands Emmanuelle Khanh, Izipizi and Lafont. Among the exhibitors, in addition to sunglasses, eyeglasses and optics brands, also suppliers of shop fittings and equipment, and of services to opticians.

Due to the health emergency and international restrictions, 49 of the 53 exhibitors expected at this edition of Silmo are based in France. The three foreign exhibitors are Brevno, a Russian optics brand, Killine Group, a Macao-based company specialising in eyewear design solutions, and Etnia Barcelona, a Spanish eyewear brand. Silmo was originally scheduled on October 2-5 at the Paris Nord Villepinte exhibition centre, and has instead opted for a much-reduced itinerant format, from October 3 to 26, due to the Covid-19 restrictions.

The event at the Tuileries gardens on October 3-4 will be Silmo’s first stage.


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