Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Mademoiselle chic at Tranoï Femme where biker girl meets quirky sophisticate for key autumn trends

Tranoï Femme autumn/winter 2009/10, Paris

Tranoï Femme
is where to find all those chic French labels alongside a range of contemporary designer European finds that organizer Michael Hadida scours the fashion cities of the world hunting out.

Held at the same time as Paris Fashion Week and taking place in three separate venues it’s the leading Paris womenswear trade show alongside other salons such as Rendez-vous, Atmosphere and Premiere Classe.

This season Hadida was trying out a new location – the Carrousel de Louvre (the same venue as many of the catwalk shows) - and it was certainly hard to beat for footfall appeal right next door to all the action of the runways.

“We wanted to try something new this season with the location, it’s a key venue for buyers and we wanted to make it even easier for them to visit the salon and see this season’s pick of European designer labels we’ve found to showcase.”


80s looks and sculptured tailoring were strong trends coming through while zippered detail on dresses and biker style jackets were big order book favourites. A full range of chunky, cable, ruffle and cardigan knits were popular while slinky satins and graphic animal or plaid prints were also moving.

Colours and fabrics were muted and tactile with nude camels, creams and beiges mingling with grey, navy or black. Pops of berry or purple shades kept things lively with hints of burnt orange and metallic along the way.

Brands to watch

Tranoï is a great place to find those French, mostly Sentier based brands that have that insouciant, gamine and oh so chic Parisian look about them. The likes of Heimstone, Love Milla, Madame a Paris, Les Prairies de Paris and Le Mont St Michel alongside newcomer Roseanna were our top picks.

Heimstone’s 80s boyfriend jackets, zip body-con dresses, Aztec print details and snake or suede jackets hit the spot.

Love Milla’s silken blouses, dresses, kaftans and pretty tops have Cruise season cover-ups, or silky feminine options all sewn up.

Madame a Paris went for a real 80s vibe with a fun mix of polka dots, plaid, brocade, lace and tuxedo crop tailoring styles for the chic mademoiselles of Paris.

Les Prairies de Paris
has a slightly more grown up appeal – serious outerwear such as suede shrug-on coats or harness fastening capes – alongside charming well-cut wool tailored dresses, silky blouses and sporty blousons.

Accessories were also strong with key footwear brands such as Tattoosh, L’Autre Chose and couturier Behnaz Kanani as well as futuristic biker girl style from Raphael Young all standing out. Post & Co had a way with VM for their belted balloons and hat brand CA4LA was first out of the blocks at the entrance with eye catching fuzzy headgear.

Friday, 6 March 2009

In with the new, out with the old

Watching the revolving doors at Paris houses is one of my favourite sports so it was with some pleasure I witnessed an encouraging new dawn at the Rochas label yesterday.

Quiet luxe was the mantra for a newly invigorated Rochas, now in the hands of ex-Halston and Versace designer Marco Zanini, who did not disappoint with a well pitched commercial collection that had exquisite detailing and French sophistication as its focal points.

Zanini told a handful of key editors and top buyers that this collection was not about extravagance. "I didn't need to look in the house archive, I just knew what I wanted to do. I knew that the collection needed to be an understated modern interpretation of luxe - these pieces don't scream luxury they're very quiet with details in the fit and only for the wearer to know about." The devil really is in the detail with delicate chiffon inserts as under-arm seams or ribbon labels sewn into the tiny pockets.

It was chic elegance all the way for classic French slips, silk blouses or double-face wool coats. Tailoring had a 40s feel while intricately beaded evening dresses rounded off a wardrobe that was a complete departure from when Olivier Theyskins was designing for the house before owners P&G closed it in 2006.

With the most expensive pieces coming in at 2800 euros for shaved calfskin throw on coat or a jewel encrusted beaded LBD for 1800, this is a collection fit for a fashion industry in recession - and judging by the turnout of all the major department store fashion directors filing in to take a peek, Zanini's job looks safe for at least the first couple of seasons.

And can I just say: what an exemplary way to showcase a debut collection. The new Rochas benefitted from low, backlit lighting and revolving mirrors to cast a quiet glow over Zanini's work. Were they all thinking what I was thinking? Has someone got it just right at last - just perfectly pitched clothes that women will instantly want to wear. I hope he stays...

Thank you for having me

I love how retail just finds me sometimes. Last night wandering back to my hotel after a day of shows and showrooms in Paris, I stumbled across the launch party for exciting new lifestyle store Merci. And after writing about it for a piece on Philanthropic Retail for the LS:Nglobal trends website just last week I knew it was going to be good. But in reality it blew me away.

This vast cavernous home of lifestyle retailing is a lesson in exemplary merchandising techniques, curated by the founders of childrenswear brand Bonpoint, it caters to all your lifestyle whims - with a "thank-you" tone to the contributors who have taken part. From designers such as Stella McCartney, YSL, Paul Smith or Isabel Marant, Prairies de Paris and Barbara Bui to a well curated vintage offer, beautiful childrenswear section and "brocante" style furniture display units, this is truly a visionary store. The furniture alone is over a whole floor with layed out "living areas" - a mix of contemporary classics and vintage pieces, from Eindoven graduates to established craftsmen and well known designers. For example, 1950s school desks, designed by Arne Jacobsen and sourced in Finland, sit alongside an exquisite armchair designed by Paola Navone.

Throughout the three floors covering 1500 sq m, exclusive and ‘one-off’ products are juxtaposed with more mainstream lines, while in the main courtyard visitors can find both a florist and a cafe, and next door is the Used Book Cafe and library - where customers can buy second hand books donated by leading writers, literary critics and celebrities.

This carefully curated collection of interiors, childrenswear, haberdashery and fashion, florist and even a literary cafe is also an exercise in giving something back to society; the owners intend to donate all the profits from the store to charity. Merci to everyone involved is the mantra throughout the store.

And with a packed out opening launch night when the catering was in plentiful supply (just like the chic Parisians in attendance) this old wallpaper factory should be a new regular must-visit on the Paris retail scene.

Obviously I took lots of photos so take a look at one of the best new lifestyle stores around here:
Merci lifestyle store