Economic upturn signalled by Le Cuir A Paris

29 September 2003

If fashion is truly an early indicator of an upturn in the economy, then the September 2003 salons are certainly signalling better times ahead for the economy. Following two seasons of economic stagnation in the sector, and without getting carried away with their significance, two aspects struck exhibitors and visitors alike to this fifth staging of Le Cuir A Paris: increased numbers of visitors coming from other countries, drawn from various backgrounds, both familiar and new to the sector, and a new underlying dynamism, even if many purchasing decisions still remain to be taken. There were 231 exhibitors, of whom 72% came from outside France. Latest trends in materials and colours for the autumn/winter season 2004-2005 were on display to 3,500 visitors drawn from all over the world. For this event, exhibitors have travelled from 25 different countries. Italy, France and Spain are still the leading countries for exhibitors. Norway, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay also attended the event. With its positioning strengthened both internationally and in terms of the fashion world, Le Cuir A Paris has opened its doors to other countries working in this field. An increase in overseas visitor numbers was recorded when compared with the September 2002 event. Moreover, the quality of visitors did not disappoint exhibitors, 70% of whom have already booked again for the next show. Around the aisles, the talk was about the quality of the visitors: any visitor who was not a buyer potentially has an input into buying decisions - whether manufacturers (shoes, luxury leathergoods, clothing, accessories, automobile etc), stylists, haute couture designers, fashion house representatives, or those responsible for collections for large-scale distribution. The Galerie des tendances [Trends Gallery] exhibited over 1,500 samples of leathers and synthetics, with ever more inventive materials for men, women, furniture and interior decoration, demonstrating the main themes in the trends for Winter 2004-2005. For the first time, an exhibition space was dedicated to men's fashion. It offered new ideas for men's fashion and a focus on the new, hard-to-ignore men's fashion, including (amongst other items) a raw and elegant graphic effect in natural polecat - Yves Salomon (France); a brushed, 'tousled' auburn sheepskin - La Doma (Spain); and a reversible leather with two-colour effect when stretched - Tannerie Dupire (France). The new 'Waterproofs' were exhibited in the form of a range of aquatic tints, to be played against sophisticated and technically-advanced fabrics. New 'Blackout' products prioritise natural materials presented in a rough finish or in contrast to the surrounding surface, creating an elegant and mysterious world. The new 'Remixed' items are shown in a world which is uncompromisingly sensual, worked around a range of refined and precious materials as well as contemporary ones. Lastly, the new 'Jet-Set' ideas play with contemporary and graphic elements in exhibiting urbane and innovative materials. There was much appreciation shown for the Nature Touch skins (Brazil): dyed frog-skins, in a matt yellow and black effect, as well as the sophistication of a natural-tone stomach-skin providing a lace effect. Other noteworthy items - 'chain-mail' braiding in soft leather embellished with gold - Bizzarro (Italy); a grained and bronzed transparent pigskin - Walter Reginald (England); a stunning luminous fluorescent pink leather - Mégisserie Lauret (France); a skin with a sophisticated and extra supple feel - Colomer y Munmany (Spain); and a world first from Albatros (Italy), a genuinely transparent leather with or without hem-stitched fur. Of the 231 exhibitors, 53 were new to the event and of the 3,500 visitors, 43% came from abroad (+3% by comparison with September 2002). Dates of the next Le Cuir A Paris events at the Paris expo centre, Porte de Versailles, are April 15-16 and September 13-15, 2004. []

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