Sunday, January 23, 2011

Its off to the fair we go

 This weekend was an important one for professionals in the fashion industry.  At least five fashion-related trade shows were held at the Porte de Versailles as . Normally these trade fairs are open only to professionals like buyers, journalists and designers and not to the general public.  Last September however, I was able to attend one of the tradeshows thanks to a friend’s invitation. It was an interesting experience as you get a first look at various designers’ upcoming collections.  And hwile there are established names, there are also a number of new and relatively unknown designers showing their wares for the first time. For new designers, these trade fairs are one of the most important means to show their wares and make themselves known to the buyers from the big stores.  It is quite exciting to think that the next Marc Jacobs or Rachel Comey could be one of these designers. 

This time around I was a little more prepared and instead of inveigling an invitation, I secured my very own badge for the trade fair I was most interested in—the Eclat de Mode.  This is one of the biggest international trade shows dedicated to jewelry. Everything from fashion jewelry to precious gold and gems from jewelers all over the world were in the Eclat de Mode.  So you can imagine my excitement as I set out for the fair. Not even the nasty cold rain dampened my spirits.

I arrived at the Porte de Versailles and was prepared to be dazzled. And dazzled I was.  Unfortunately pictures were not allowed and I only managed to sneak a few under the eagle gaze of the security.  Imagine if you will a huge and cavernous hall filled with stand after stand of all kinds of jewelry.  I can’t even begin to describe the sights.  I felt a little like Ali Baba in the presence of so much gold, except that there were no thieves and I wasn’t there to steal anything.   Gold and diamonds while well represented shared equal billing with fashion jewelry of which there is always big demand. After all, not everyone can treat themselves to a solid gold, gem studded dazzler of a cuff but we can all indulges ourselves with a nice pair of dangly earrings that doesn’t quite carry the same hefty price tag but is nonetheless equally pretty.  What really impressed me was the sheer creativeness of a lot of the works on display. One Brazilian stand carried jewelry made out of some native fiber, cunningly reworked to resemble gold thread.  While visiting their stand I had a sudden image of Rumpelstilskin working for these Brazilians.  A Turkish stand had wonderful necklaces that made extremely creative use of freshwater pearls.  I had to take their card and the next time I visit Istanbul, I firmly intend to hunt down their store.

One innovation of this year’s fair is the addition of a section whereby professionals can buy their stock from wholesalers. And here, I literally had to take a moment to catch my breath for there were (I kid you not), rows and rows and rows of all kinds of gems, stones, minerals, crystals, glass beads, resin, wood, Mother of Pearl, and tons of other materials, that could all be used in the process of making beautiful jewelry.  It literally took my breath away because unlike the other stands, you could actually take home some of these precious beauties. So I started to ask around and alas, here is where they separate the major players from the wanna-be players.  One stand had a minimum purchase policy of 200 euros. Gulp. But another had a whopping 1000 Euros minimum purchase policy. Suddenly the 200 euro min didn’t seem to bad after seeing that!  After spending what felt like hours in this section, I had to literally tear myself away after firmly telling myself to “WALK AWAY” from a 200 year old strand of trade fair Venitian beads that looked like it had lived through an awful lot of history and was the loveliest shade of lavender I ever did see.

This section featured young and unknown designers 

But my day wasn’t finished with its store of surprises. Imagine my great surprise and pleasure at discovering that the Philippines had 4 booths participating at the fair.   How wonderful to see Pinoy creations!  Easily the best booth was that by Janice Minor from Cebu.  She was there to exhibit, for the first time her Binibini collection which is composed of jewelry and accessories.  Her collection is a wonderful illustration of how beautiful our native materials are and how extremely talented and creative Pinoys can be.  The jewelry on display were crafted from minerals like Jaspers and petrified wood, all endemic to the Philippines and they were big and bold and as global chic looking as you could want them to be. What I really liked though were her bags.  Her designs are clean and modern with a bit of ethnic twist thrown in but cleverly executed in such unexpected materials as raffia and tinalak.  I tried to buy one of her bags, that’s how much I liked them but I was told that they had to have the complete collection on hand for the Milan Trade Fair.  For a split second, I tried to imagine going to Milan but well, we haven’t won the lotto yet.  For the Philippine market, the big launch is in March at the Home and Accessories trade fair in Cebu. I strongly suggest that you look for their wares, if you should find yourself somewhere in the vicinity of Cebu during this time. I can’t tell you how proud I was at seeing a fellow Filipino in such a setting.

Some of her bags


  1. this does make one proud to be pinoy! and about the lavender Venetian beads - WOW, the way you describe them, the really must have been painful to walk away from!

  2. I'm still thinking of them :( Fortunately they have a store in Venice! Hopefully they'll still be there, now I just have to get to Venice. Hahaha!

  3. Awesome and very cool! Good showing by Pinoys,too.Great post! Kudos! - MAS

  4. Hooray for the Philippines! :-) It's so wonderful to hear positive news like that.

  5. Hello Pink Princess
    Janice's latest Binibini Collection Launch is showcased at the following FB Page -