Paris is once again fully immersed in fashion mode. With the men’s week’s official catwalk schedule running from last Tuesday till Sunday, most of the trade shows being in full bloom over the weekend and many of the buyers and press still being in town now (to finish all their showroom appointments and/or attend the directly adjacent Couture Week), one hasn’t been able to meet and breathe fashion (or at least, its people) in the French capital over the past few days.
Pleasantly, the whole trade show and showroom happenings were concentrated centrally on The Right Bank this time, between Place Vendôme and the Marais, making a commute between the venues much easier.
MAN was back at Place Vendome for the second season with its more than 120 brands distributed across three beautiful locations. At the main venue, the Pavillon Vendôme, the lively bustle stretched across the ground floor and basement, hosting an appealing selection of brands from Bleu de Paname to YMC.
The nicest MAN location was actually the nearby Hotel d’Évreux–here it was slightly quieter, yet the ceilings all the more beautiful. On the ground floor, one could find Brand Black’s new line of bold, Vibram-soled sneakers and its brand-new sub-line of more sportive and fashion progressive pieces called Santa Ana.
On the first floor, British M. C. Overalls welcomed visitors with its new range of cool canvas pieces, now available also in more muted colors such as navy, off-white and dusty pink.
Across the show, many outdoor/fashion crossover brands such as Comfy Outdoor Garments or Manastash (both originally US outdoor companies now in Japanese hands) showcased their pieces with a focus on fleece and sherpa fabrics and retro designs. (A personal favorite was the sherpa hip pack by Comfy Outdoor Garments). Fabrications and innovative materials generally played an important role: Here, highlights were Nanamica’s super thin and lightweight woolen coats with a Gore-Tex lining.
After seasons of more off-site locations (such as Cité de la Mode or Maison de la Mutualité), Capsule was back in Marais with a slimmed back offer of around 50 brands this season–and the organizers did well in doing so. There was no printed brand list and the three-floor location near Republique felt slightly provisional but also very welcoming and cozy.
The vibe on the showground was definitely good and the digestible amount of brands helped prevent the often achieved collection overload and still contained enough interesting names to watch–both established (Naked and Famous, Wåven, Drink Beer Save Water) and rather new(ish) ones, such as streetwear brand Sol-Sol from Cape Town, the voluminous unisex collection by S.K. Manor Hill from New York and the leather accessories by Wons Mous from Turkey.
Also at Capsule, innovation was written in capitals. Sheltech, a Japanese manufacturer of quick-dry, lightweight and light-resistant fabrics, showcased its own denim collection (Seveskig), Isaora presented its impressive collection of super technical urban functional clothing that was just shown in the selected Athlovers area at Pitti, Art of Scribble (of the Korean We Not Fat agency) introduced its Sun Tech shirts with graphic elements that are visible in UV light only and UK designer Christopher Raeburn showed his fully recycled Remade collection.
For its January 2018 edition, Tranoi filled three locations with about 170 brands. At its regular Palais de la Bourse, Tranoi hosted womenswear-only, with lots of (fake) fur, femininity and decoration in the collections. For the whole “Tranoi Week” (January 18-23), the Tranoi Gallery at Rue Vielle du Temple was home to the second collaboration between the French trade show and the British Fashion Council’s London Show Rooms with designers including Charles Jeffrey Loverboy, E. Tautz, Leon Bara, Phoebe English and Art School. Together, the two initiatives also welcomed the winner (Bodice) and finalists of the International Woolmark Prize 2017-18 for womenswear and a selection of additional independent designers.
"Off"-site showroom business
Next to all the official trade shows, business was (and still is!) running in the countless monobrand or agency showrooms across the city, especially in the Marais. Highlights were the Slam Jam showroom with collections such as Aries, College (loafers), or Napapijri by Matine Rose, or the Polly King showroom with brands including Champion, Clae, Folk, Soulland and many more.
There was not the Resident Showroom this time, but all three former organizers were busy still: Craig Ford with a BBC showroom on Rue Turenne, Mark Batista’s agency Brand Progression was showcasing some of its labels at the multibrand Welcome Edition showroom on Rue Leon Frot and Pierre Boiselle helped launch the new Jumble showroom Paris. Jumble is originally a bi-annual Tokyo trade show, bringing international brands–also from the interior field_to Japan each March and September. Now in its first-ever foreign event, Jumble, together with Boiselle, successfully brought a selection of more than 30 Japanese brands to Paris. The appealing range included names such as the beloved Medicom Toys, Standard Supply bags, fun (sweat)shirts by The Nerdys and the beautiful all-blue pieces by FDMTL Denim who also presented collaborative products with Vans, New Era etc.
General menswear trends & highlights spotted at the F/W ’18 Paris shows:
THe footwear ingredient: Vibram soles. Want to increase the hype level of your sneakers these days? Add a Vibram sole. Sounds simple.
THE pants: Surfing on the trend for more baggie pants, carpenter pants are back in full swing.
THE material: All cozy! Sherpa, Polartec fleece and other super soft fabrics (both natural and sythetic) are high in demand.
Fun graphics: Ironic claims and spoof logos rule not only streetwear these days...
Best collaboration: Maison Marcy x Magritte - for a sleep in style.
For more information on trade shows check out DFV Group’s expocheck.com.