By Jane Rosenstein – Edited by Harold Dill
To learn what the well-dressed women will be wearing for fall-winter 2015-2016, I visited 2nd anniversary edition of Who’s Next. The January 23 – 26 event took place at the Porte de Versailles Exhibition Center, Paris. Not only did I learn about the fashions but I saw some very interesting exhibitions including those of humanitarian interest. While Who’s Next featured clothing, Premiere Classe featured fashion accessories including jewelry, leather goods, luggage, and footwear.
This year 57,790 visitors attended the exhibition – an uptick over last year.
64% of the visitors (37,160) came from France. International visitors increased 3%. Visitors from Europe accounted for 77%. Asian attendance (2,705) increased this year. Conversely, the number of attendees from USA decreased by 5%.
As is customary, this year’s expo opened with a delightfully festive soirée featuring music by Breakbot & Infane. The music was great and there were several themes. Who’s Next provided some vodka beverages as well as wine and beer. This year vendors had food for sale.
The most interesting exhibits were located in Hall 4 that was labeled “Fame.” I visited many fine quality “fashion forward” collections from international designers and manufactures. Marta Cuccinello had her collection from Italy; www.martacuccinello.com .
Her fashions featured shades of blue and purple in natural fabrics. I learned that she plans to be exhibit in New York next.
Cynthia Guerrero, the style director at Stella Pardo based in Paris, told me she is from Peru. Her fashions features alpaca. A beautiful, fluffy alpaca carpet gave her display a distinctively luxurious appearance.. She told me that the retail markup is about 2.78 times the wholesale price. Her knitwear is a good seller. Colors of clothes in her stand were black and white and ecru. She told me that “Fame” gave an award to Stella Pardo in 2009. www.stellapardo.com
From visiting the stands in Fame, the best hall according to the exhibitors, I learned that natural fabrics will be the fashion and the colors will include black, white, ecru and green. Blue was seen to a lesser extent and there were a few garments in purple. I did not see many bright colors like red, yellow or orange for the winter collection nor did I see much brown or gray. I did not see many prints and most garments were made of natural fabrics.
Imagine my surprise to find Xie Xie tea from Taiwan at Who’s Next — a clothing exhibition! Ken Lin told me about his fine line of Oolong tea picked by hand. Xie Xie is Chinese and means thank you. “XIE XIE is picked by hand in the highest mountains of Taiwan. Pickers only take the very end of Oolong tea plants, e.g., two tender leaves joined together by their stalk. Then the tea is dried without being crushed. This retains the shape of the leaves as well the original aromas of its natural origins” according to Xie Xie Tea packaging text.
There are several varieties of tea including classic loose leaf oolong tea; charcola roasted loose leaf oolong tea, chamomile, lemongrass loose leaf oolong tea, lemon ginger loose leaf oolong tea, spearmint loose leaf oolong tea and red rose loose leaf oolong tea. www.xiexietea.com
When I saw the beautiful fur jackets, I couldn’t resist trying one on at RT International Group. I had my photo taken with Cynthia and Lilian. We do not see many women here in Paris wearing real fur traveling in the subway or buses. There is the question if an animal ought to be killed for fur but then people eat animals and use the skin for shoes and accessories. www.rizal.fr. They introduced me to Roxane from Hotel Particulier and I had my photo taken with her as she modeled a gray fur coat;
I also modeled a wool jacket that seemed very comfortable at the Giorgio Stand. Leslie Azzouli told me that her company makes leather, wool, and fur garments.www.giorgio.fr.
My visit to Premiere Classe was very interesting. First I tried on beautiful crystal jewelry from Swarovski. The jewelry is very expensive but it was wonderful to experience having my photo taken wearing it!
Farell presented his unique colorful line of leggings and tights. Xavier Freeman told me that the designs are unique and the quality is superb. www.farell.fr. The company also manufacturesand sells swimwear but as this was a fall-winter collection they did not exhibit it.
There were two very interesting projects that attracted my attention.
“Around the World in 80 Styles” featured photos of people in 80 countries wearing native clothes. Marcela Markova and Phillipe-Henry Honnega traveled to many countries at their own expense to discover fashion. At Who’s Next they had a cocktail party where I saw some of the photos on display and they told me that they are working on a book that will hopefully be published soon.
Seeing the Novada jewelry was interesting but the story behind the exhibition was heart warming. The jewelry is made of palm nut called vegetal ivory from the Amazon forest.
Jean-Philippe Redoulès told me the story. Elodie went to Ecuador and created a program whereby 16 local women work creating the natural jewelry which is sold in 320 world boutiques including Russia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan; It is classified fair trade by IMO. Novoda gives part of the profits to their partner association Avenir Novodar for the schooling of Quincha children from the village in the Andes region of Ecuador. www.novoda.com.
Not only was Who’s Next and Premiere Classe interesting to visit but it was also very informative. I felt happy to know about the new fashions and the charitable efforts of some companies.