The exhibition for exceptional ‘quality accessories’
From Friday 28th of February – Monday 2nd March 2020
Report from Carole Denford
It is unbelievable that just 5 months ago designers at Première Classe were reporting their ‘best ever edition’ and now just a few months later a dark cloud had descended across much of the world, with the outbreak of the Coronavirus. During my stay in Paris, news of the spread was being constantly monitored. Worst it seems was northern Italy, and fears are that it would spread throughout Europe. International buying teams especially from China, South Korean, Japan, the UK and America were restricted in numbers or cancelled visits, which was devastating for this show.
Première Classe, Tranoïand Woman/Man stayed open for business, even though the Paris Marathon, due to take place on Sunday, was cancelled and a large ‘outdoor show’ held this same weekend was closed one day early.
But life will return to normal, and come September retailers will need to present new collections of summer clothes and eye-catching headwear. My report from Paris covers some of the most directional brands at Première Classe and Woman/Man, and hopefully will assist with new trends and must-have styles for winter 202/21. Each collection was so diverse, so separate in its use of materials, it’s preference for shapes and outlines, and consequently the buyers it attracts. Craft processes remain the foundation of the hat and millinery industry, and here at Première Classe you can find ‘under one roof’ this great wealth of talent.
Première Classe kept its location within the Tuileries Gardens showing within three spacious marquees. This show is always very pleasing to the eye, presenting new modern areas at each edition and offering good natural light. Designers and international brands are hand picked by the Première Classe team who travel the world looking for new talent. Some are established forward-looking brands, others are new names that they hope will catch the eye. All categories of accessories are shown, hats, bags, shoes, jewellery, scarves etc… with some items pushing the market on trends. Designers/owners of brands are normally on hand to present their collection.
Sunday was pretty quiet for this show, but there was a buzz during the afternoon.
Headwear has remained pretty steady in terms of numbers over the past 15 years, but it was noticeable that a few young French labels, those that normally present ‘trends’ were missing, as was Nicky Marquard and Harvy Santos who had already decided to take one season out.
As directions and influences move onwards these ‘caught my eye’ for next season……………..
1) A Salute to Craftsmanship
2) New Printing Techniques Developed for All Types of Materials
3) Soft, Cosy Fabrics with a Pile or Soft Handle
Hood with mink trim from Luca Della Lama
4) Feminine Day-Hats Using Lace, Veiling or Both
5) The Colours: Gold, Brown, Rust, Black & White, Plus Interesting Combinations
6) Hat Ties, and Attached Scarves, for Windy Days
7) Fur Trims, Fur Underbims Fur Seams
8) Stylish Soft Hats
9) Updated Rainwear
10) The Slouchy/Worn, Style Stays Strong
Luca Della Lama: presented a collection using animal skins for both hats and trims. These included lambskin, leather and a few pieces in mink. This label is works with young trends, and new fashion directions, it is usually playful and brave in its delivery. Interesting was an American-type baseball cap made of lambskin but printed with an image of cable stitch. The result was so real you had to touch the cap to believe it was printed. There were also a number of hoods, worn over caps and buttoned under the chin, many with cats ears attached. The hats in the Luca Della Lama collection are designed and made in their factory west of Florence They also make for other brands and fashion labels.
www.lucadellalama.it (see The Hat Magazine Issue 72)
Stephen Jones: Showed a collection entitled “It’s About Time”to celebrates a 40-year career of whimsical millinery. Telling a story that began in Endell Street, Covent Garden in 1980 and continued throughout the decades re-interpreting Stephen’s personal ‘hatty’ favourites. There were shapes and styles worked in collaboration with the world’s most noted designers and fashion houses. The collection was divided into two parts, the Model Millinery Collection that is made in the atelier in Covent Garden, and the larger Miss Jones & Jonesboy collections, with its more commercial pricing, but retaining that fun tongue-in-cheek element that is so Mr Jones.
Chisaki, by Noriko Chisaki in Japan (former designer of Valeur), showed simple, soft, easy styles, devoid of almost any trims in natural/earthy colours, of greys, tans and sludgy greens. Only simple ties to hang from trilby brims, and a tiny bobble on a soft knitted hat were used. This brand is so understated that it could be missed, but Noriko is a forward thinking international designer, passionate about headwear, who reacts to modern living and interprets that mood into an easy-wear hat collection.
www.chisaki.co.jp(see The Hat Magazine Issue 52)
Misa Harada presented a collection entitled “Supernova”, re-launching past glamour by taking elements of the 1970s and 80s. Fashion icon Bianca Jagger under the title “bring back the chic”was one such idol. Dressy hats were feminised with veiling, lace, and swathes of glossy coque feathers. Contemporary day hats were given a block of contrast colour, or a hint of the 80s with their easy-wear turned up brims. The soft range of peaked caps and deep berets were snug and warm to the touch in blurry mohair tweeds and natural faux sheepskin.
Anthony Peto showed a stylish menswear/streetwear collection of soft hats with some daring blocked felts. The soft range in blurry-checked mohair was in four modern shapes, the baseball, the bucket shape, a beret and a cuffed beanie. Felt hats were here to be seen, with wide fedora brims, tall crowns or with new eye-catching appliques. Interesting was a new imitation leather used primarily for the simple ‘bucket hat’ shape, in sludgy colours or a shiny PVC-type finish that was soft and supple to the touch, and extremely comfortable to wear.
Marzi Firenze presented an elegant collection of stylish dressy hats, blocked felts, casual soft hats and velvety ruched turbans. Colours were either smart black & white, berry shades of burgundy, purples and dark blue or, for the more casual styles, shiny metallic, rusts, grey and soft beiges. New developments this season included a reproduction of the fine braid leather fedora, originally designed and made in the 1980s by Patricia Underwood. The skills required, to cut the leather braid, to stitch and to block such a hat, keeping it as light and as soft as possible, are quite phenomenal. Marzi are offering this hat in 4 styles across black and brown colourways.
www.marzi.com(The Hat Magazine issues 4 – out of stock)
Mühlbauer are probably the most craft-led brand at this show. Based in Vienna with a team of highly skilled workers the company still block their hats on wooden blocks, using the old techniques. At the same time their image, and design influence is incredibly high tech and forward thinking. They have a huge following in Japan and South Korea, not only for their well-researched collections, but also for their perfection in making. This includes their signature ‘slouchy felts’ developed and sold in collections for a number of years.
Grevi always presents a young, feminine collection that is built on the traditions of the Grevi family. Their range comprised well over 200 hats and headpieces. Three-quarters were soft hats, in styles that were young, forward of the market and easy-to-wear. The Grevi ‘style’ has a hint of vintage, bows, lace, and includes, whether in winter or summer, beautiful hand-made flowers. They specialise in soft faux fur, and for next winter had developed a process of printing on this fur. Blocked shapes were feminine or unisex, most based on the trilby shape, however I was pleased to find positioned at the front of the stand ‘a tricorn’ in black felt, softened with a gathered frill on the brim. Other materials included velvet, tweed and shiny PVC for rain hats, some trimmed with fake fur.
www.grevi.it (The Hat Magazine Issue 4 – out of stock)
Karen Henriksen has developed her own style of ‘soft hat’ noted for its intricate pattern cutting. She has used this technique on varied materials for both summer and winter ranges. This season she presented a collection using soft British tweed; a spongy-backed wool cashmere; and tailored pinstripe, finishing caps with a soft leather peak. Her colour palette reminded me of beach pebbles, whilst 2-tone weaves showed influence from Bridget Riley’s black & white. One of the most eye-catching styles was a black cloche constructed in the foam-backed fabric with an added silk veil. Karen also showed a range of felt visors, inspired by the Art Deco period, made in geometric patterns from millinery felt.
Lola Ehrlich heads one of the most success headwear labels in the US. Based in Brooklyn her collection is sold in the world’s most prestigious stores. Her collection is craft led, easy wear and traditionally made. For the past four seasons Lola has exhibited at “Woman”, an American owned exhibition that opens at Place Vendôme in Paris during Fashion Week. Her space is quite compact, hence the collection is fairly small. This season she showed styles in a nylon puffa fabric, in easy wear check tweed, knits in oversized dogtooth and a range of animal print felts.