Wednesday, September 17, 2008
TRAIN/PLATFORM 2-S/S ’09 COLLECTIONS -
JEAN-PIERRE MOCHO-CHAIRMAN OF LA FEDERATION FRANÇAISE DU PRÈT À PORTER
Sunday, September 14th, Terminal Stores and La Venue, 28th Street/11th Avenue
Words, Images by Judith Ecochard and courtesy of TRAIN NY
Coming on the heels of New York’s Fashion Week and economic markets in topsy-turvy mode, it actually felt ‘calming’ for us-to take in the carefully edited group of women’s RTW and accessories collections- at the ‘affordable’ designer priced TRAIN™ and contemporary bridge - PLATFORM 2™- New York Tradeshows.
Organized by France’s FFPAPF-“the leading European fashion force and owner of PRET À PORTER®,” this bi-annual Big Apple glam fest of nearly 100 brands and exhibitors from 21 countries- managed to surprise us with the consistently high level of elegant sophistication fused with on trend sensibilities.
No wonder American retail arbiters from chic boutiques like Fred Segal- are joined by an international cast of buyers from Harrods, Galleries Lafayette, etc…not wanting to miss the “latest.”
Image courtesy of English Eccentrics S/S '09
The quality of goods was outstanding and included ‘household’ names like French shoe companies Repetto, modern designers from the Nexus Showroom and the 2fer line (USA), and contemporary offerings from the revitalized 25 years old brand, English Eccentrics (UK).
A highlight of the afternoon was our freewheeling chat with the Basque native Jean-Pierre Mocho, Chairman of FFPAPF-and responsible for a whole host of fashion tradeshows in Paris and Tokyo-in addition to Big Apple events. Plus the grab ‘em before they disappear, spiral MODEM books-listing everything we need to know about fashion…arrive on our shores, courtesy of this Federation.
Some topics discussed:
TRAIN/PLATFORM 2-THE BASICS
With TRAIN in its ninth formation…and the lesser priced, goods wise- PLATFORM 2 on its fourth jaunt, we sensed that these tradeshows presented an enviable selective group of outfitters-some familiar and some not.
Mocho concurred, noting, “…we think we are building an image…we have an idea of new designers that are suitable and trendy.” The ability to manufacture and deliver product (important for newish designers) is also carefully vetted, as is the “wearability” factor.
“Some designers believe in their garment more than the market,” Mocho sagely observed.
IMHO: Nearly every booth we perused along the spacious, city block long, former train terminal building, served up stylish items that should happily clad individuals who are a notch (or several) above mass market types. (Think Tilda Swinton vs. Hannah Montana).
For us, the observation that although one “cannot generalize about where the garments are made,” according to Mocho…”the quality manufacturers are outside of China…” was no surprise.
We can think of only PORTS 1961- that has garments made in family owned Chinese factories-at a detailed level…that is an exception.
“We create an ambiance to exhibit here-people want to come to New York and it is interesting for us. We (TRAIN) was the first event in this space…the first to come here and create demand…and now there is a lot of fashion and art galleries in the area.”
And we can see why.
The former 18,000 square foot terminal space is a glorious high ceiling, solid brick structure that was a former train terminal. Most recently, a portion of the building was a mini-storage facility, that is now carefully rehabbed as “La Venue”-a lease-able event space that stills sports the original old beams, wood plank floors and soaring arch ways from the good ole’ days-fused with high tech underpinnings, like WIFI.
No wonder we saw so many Skype users.
We loved the flow of the four ‘room’ space that is easy to navigate, has plenty of facilities (restrooms, restaurant), and provided us and no doubt, the exhibitors, with precious breathing room in which to conduct business in a professional manner.
With the competitive landscape of competing tradeshows, “...what we did in the past is not valid,” says Mocho. Some changes have occurred with respect to “different products’ that include “more in quality and higher standards” in response to buyers’ demands.
“What I am fighting for is to keep the leading fashion city as Paris…we have the lead…we want to keep that lead to attract buyers here (NYC).”
After all, French fashion, like their food/wine-has an alluring, ne plus ultra pull. Accordingly. A French backed tradeshow with high-level international brands- is like a well-edited runway show. Guaranteed refined and up-to-the minute garments.
Which is great when there are many, many tradeshows one can attend...no time wasted!
We’ve had discussions with many Gallic types- and find it curious that the French people in general, feel less motivated to use eco/organic/recycled textiles than American garmentos.
Happily, FFPAPF has an “Ethical” section - consisting of ‘green’ clothes from small collections…at their Paris venues.
We hope that fashion exhibitors at every tradeshow we review- gets onboard with the LOS movement-like practically every brand we saw at the massive Outdoor Retailer Tradeshow this summer.
As we have mentioned before, Europeans seem to have no problem with the art/fashion/commerce merge that causes a few hiccups with certain types across the pond - for some reason.
We enjoyed taking in the Moto 777’s Shadows and Reflections art creations, sponsored by TRAIN. Conceived by Benedicte Toft Andersen and Alexis Robiou-the exhibits incorporated silk screens, pop psychedelia, and everyday trash…but was anything but.