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Simply the Best

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Paris welcomed predominantly European designers and brands to Premiere Vision (PV), the fabric, trim and yarn exhibition for the fashion industry. Geared towards Spring/Summer 2023, visitor attendance was positive at the February event, but unlike in the past when the RER train from Gare du Nord was packed like sardines, it was the queue for the vaccine QR code that was the busiest experience.

With travel restrictions still in place, the show was scaled-down from its pre-lockdown size, with European mills dominating, savoring the experience of a unique platform for a change. The mood took one back to pre-global days, when only European mills could exhibit. But with globalization the organizers had no other choice but to open up the show to high quality international mills that met the strict specifications. The best of the Turkish mills were out in force, but can’t be deemed direct competitors to the exquisite weaves and creativity, in particular, that the Italians and French offer.

Sustainability was mentioned in the trend area, encouraging visitors to take this into consideration, but it wasn’t hammered home. Not all fashion mills are pursuing a sustainable message, as they rely on the fact they use the best yarns, and the creative know-how of European manufacturing, which in itself is sustainable in terms of shipping.

This is where the confusion with sustainability comes in. Premium caliber attendees aren’t going to run a collection with a sustainable tag on it. They believe in buying the best and expecting the best, as do their customers. Additionally, creativity is king to these buyers, and sustainability is a less relevant topic, although, this does depend on price points.

More “performance” labeling featured in the trend forums, highlighting the benefits of fabrics, both in terms of sustainable attributes and functional properties.  

Functional fabrics, traditionally associated with the outdoors sector, continue to creep into the fashion melee, with mills realizing they have to take the creative aspect up a notch, in order to fit in. The interest in performance fabrics is running high, especially with the latest collaboration at Milan Fashion Week of Gucci and adidas. Who’d have predicted that collaboration? Sportswear rules, once again a legacy of the lockdown as comfort continues to dominate.

Luxe Brands & Retail Must-See

It is quite clear who exhibitors of PV are trying to attract: The post-show press release revealed the presence of creme de la creme labels from Dior, Lacoste, Kenzo and Yves Saint Laurent. On the other hand there was not much mention of the big volume global brands attending, although Decathlon did make the list.

With the likes of H&M, Primark, C&A and the Inditex group proposing sustainable projects to consumers, albeit a constant supply of recycled polyester, this messaging was likely done to appease consumers following media’s interest in throw away fashion. The price point and volume wouldn’t be sourced at PV, but it would at the TexWorld show, 20 minutes away.

PV trend forums, traditionally renowned for creativity, and works of art in themselves, were subtle this season. Perhaps to help ease us back into the fold? Nonetheless this didn’t deter visitors to wind their way round and return to the much loved tactile sourcing.

Paris is always a pleasure to visit for Premiere Vision, and the trade show also provides an opportunity to do some retail research. (For the love of business and not pleasure, not!) There is a new must-see locale, La Samaritaine, the large department store established in 1869, now owned by LVMH, the luxury goods group, has reopened after 17 years of restoration to its original Art Deco and Art Nouveau style.  

The collections are a combination of luxury and independent, ranging from Chanel to more indie labels including Ganni and  A.P.C.  A specialized Athleisure area offers the latest brands with adidas by Stella McCartney, Arc’teryx and Moncler stocked, as these high-end outdoor brands have fast become fashion favorites. In addition, 12 restaurants have opened highlighting a new retail lifestyle experience, plus pop-ups, installations and exhibitions that animate the store.

La Samaritaine is well worth visiting, however, it’s bright yellow shopping bag should be a ubiquitous sight as people leave the store, but are nowhere to be seen. The store has obviously been lined-up for the Chinese consumer with money and a love of luxury goods, yet as of now no Chinese visitors can travel. So the feel of the store is that of a gilded cage. The majority of European tourists aren’t going to buy, concerned more with their rising utility bills, and regarding the store as another tourist attraction.

As with Premiere Vision, La Samaritaine is selective and niche, a typical Parisian way of delivering only the best. Proof that Parisian retail and Premiere Vision haven’t lost that traditional ‘je ne sais quoi.’


Top 5 Takeaways

At Premiere Vision, mills combined performance with the flair the fashion industry is drawn to.

  1. Windproof and repellent ripstop with a super soft hand, reduced noise and modern sheen from Lidia (Korea). Incredibly light, this is perfect for packable applications and the microlight trend with luster.
  2. Water repellent lightweight glam with graffiti-inspired print from Majocchi NT (Italy). The importance of print in the fashion sector is particularly strong - especially taking on an urban flair with street and sport brands being such a strong influence.
  3. High resistance weave for durability, with bi-stretch, anti-UV and quick dry with 3D immersive print from Pisa Tekstil (Turkey). This fabric is actually a flat surface, with the print mimicking a textured appearance
  4. Fabulous lightweight non-woven paper touch from Fabrica Tessuti (Italy). What to do with this fabric in apparel form remains to be seen, but it left an imprint as it had such a sensational touch.
  5. Changeant effect,  raised rib weave from Sfate & Combier (France). Playing with contrasting colored yarns, stretch and structure created a visual treat.

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