Visitors of Première Classe/Who's Next include artistic directors, heads of styling studios, and designers who come to get a feel for new trends.
Jewelry by Ariane Ernst.
Searching for what’s hot in jewelry each season, around 60,000 visitors arrive, twice a year, at Porte de Versailles in Paris to attend Première Classe/Who’s Next. Much more than mere showcases, trunk and trade shows are where buyers place orders, determining what we’ll see in stores the world over. Somewhat scarily, it takes only a few days at a show to determine how an entire season will pan out for a jewelry designer. Sylvie Pourrat, Show Manager of Première Classe accessories (part of Who’s Next trade show), explains what makes a show successful. She also gives us a heads-up on the exciting brands and jewelry trends at July’s Fall/Winter show that can expect a sparkling season.
How important to a show’s success is getting the dates right?
This is a key aspect. Who’s Next/Première Classe take place during the same period as a lot of other fashion events in Paris—Men’s Fashion Week, Couture Fashion Week, and also Maison&Objet (design and home decoration). The fact that we’re listed on the International Fashion Calendar puts Paris on every international buyer’s business itinerary.
How do you decide which designers will take part in Première Classe/Who’s Next?
The seven members of the selection committee decide. Première Classe presents an overview of the season’s trends across a medium-to-high price range. It’s the show for designers, so we meet each one in person and check out their signature style and product. Collections are expected to offer something new, yet still be in tune with fashion trends. When a collection shows a style we already know, we put it into the Who’s Next accessories show. Here, price levels start at top-end mass market and go to the upper limit of the medium-range market.
How much effort do designers put into the way they present their jewelry?
They are really innovative, creating clever installations that show off their collections to best effect. The smaller the stand the better the layout, usually, owing to the need to really think about how best to optimize space.
What has changed, in terms of fashion jewelry trends?
We’re seeing a mix of minimalism (charms, gold, spiritual icons) and costume jewelry (plastrons, heavy necklaces, bangles). Materials-wise, it’s gold or brass, silver or textiles, natural materials or Plexiglas.
What designers use Swarovski crystals?
Designers have access to a complete catalog of crystal components, so there are a lot of crystals. Philippe Audibert, Philippe Ferrandis, Aris Geldis, Wouter&Hendrix, Jayde Collection, On Aura Tout Vu, plus a great many others, all use ‘Swaro’ (the French nickname for Swarovski crystals).
Have any major designers been discovered at Première Classe/Who’s Next?
Quite a few brands that launched at the show are now famous: VEJA, Philippe Audibert, American Retro, Les Prairies de Paris—these are just a few.
Do you support upcoming designers and invite them to the show?
Yes, at the moment we’re supporting Not Just a Label, plus we’re following twenty new-generation designers. We also promote schools of fashion, design and creativity.
What do you learn through organizing the show each year?
I’ve discovered that in the fifteen years I’ve been doing this job, no two shows are ever the same. I love finding new talents, helping develop a new designer, communicating with brands and creating collaborations between them and designers. To create an event that’s different every time is very fulfilling—that's all one needs, really.