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Taking stock in Paris

Paris’s stock houses in the city’s Sentier garment district have felt the strain from the economic downturn, but some are finding new ways to attract buyers looking for in-season collections.

TRICOTS de FINETTE, 111 Rue d’Aboukir, 75002 Paris

  • Mainstream womenswear for 30- women
  • Prices ¤16 (£13) to ¤70 (£58)
  • 20 pieces minimum order
  • No private label service

Another stock house to have felt the pinch of the economic slowdown, Tricots de Finette, which is owned by Opale, has lowered its entry price points to offer better value for money to its customers. With more than 50 years’ experience, the womenswear label specialises in jersey and knitwear manufactured mainly in Italy, with some pieces produced in Turkey. For autumn 10, fine-gauge, long-line jumpers sit alongside chunky cardigans and coatigans in muted tones of beige, brown, purple and grey. Ruffles on collars and trims add detail, as do large rosettes, embroidery and big buttons. Colour is added via vibrant colour blocking, Fair Isle knits or floral prints. Jumper dresses, bubble skirts, A-line skirts and slim-cut trousers make up the silhouettes.

Vulcano Couture, 4 Rue d’Alexandrie, 75002 Paris

  • Contemporary womenswear label for 16 to 45-year-olds
  • Prices ¤16 (£13) to ¤20 (£16)
  • No minimum order
  • Private label service available

Just four months old, Vulcano Couture was set up by owner Yusie Hu after she finished her fashion studies in Milan. The business is still in its infancy, but Hu is one of the few stock house owners in the Parisian garment district to adopt a strategy suited to the current climate, where consumers are looking for quality at affordable prices. She says: “We’ve benefited from the economic crisis, because we offer inexpensive products of a high quality, like a 100% silk dress for €16 (£13). Everyone is very savvy now and looking for quality and good prices.” Vulcano Couture’s prices are lower than many other stock houses in the area and the collection stands out in terms of design - an area where rival businesses are falling behind. Dresses are the key category for autumn 10, particularly the sleeveless, Fair Isle dresses with large cowl necks in grey, red and purple.

Opullence, 16 Rue du Caire, 75002 Paris

  • Mainstream womenswear for 25 to 60-year-olds
  • Prices ¤16 (£13) to ¤35 (£29)
  • No minimum order for existing clients; minimum of 20 pieces for new customers
  • Private label service

A tight, complete wardrobe collection is on offer at Opullence for autumn 10, with all trousers, dresses and tops made in France. A lace theme prevails, particularly on long-sleeved navy and black tops and dresses with ruched shoulders. There are plenty of jumpsuit options. “Lots of buyers have reduced forward orders, so we’ve done well in the economic crisis,” says owner Mickael Fellous. “We used to do a lot more private label but we want to build our brand - it’s only five years old.”

SARAH WAYNE, 7 Rue d’Alexandrie, 75002 Paris

  • Premium womenswear for 20- women
  • Average price ¤100 (£82)
  • 15 pieces minimum order

Premium directional brand Sarah Wayne serves up a muted colour palette of black, khaki, olive green and purple across lace dresses and blouses, harem pants and slim-cut trousers and jackets for autumn 10. Those which are simpler in design stand out, particularly the luxe separates such as pretty silk tops at €48 (£40), or simple, draped, jersey and silk mix dresses. More directional pieces include a chocolate brown leather skirt, Chanel-esque bouclé jackets and suede gilets.

Deby Debo, 17 Rue de Caire, 75002 Paris

  • Contemporary womenswear for 18 to 40-year-olds
  • Average price ¤30 (£25)
  • 30 pieces minimum order
  • Private label service

With more than 200 pieces for autumn 10, Deby Debo’s collection needs a thorough look-through to find some key items. Pretty cotton tea dresses with ruffles and pearl-like buttons at €30 (£25) stand out, as do printed blouses for €26 (£21.50). Several different prints catch the eye, including geometric and ditsy floral designs on dresses and separates, and lace is a key trend. But basics are too expensive at €20 (£16.50) and lack the quality of high street rivals such as Uniqlo. Key fabrics include polyester and viscose, with some cashmere mixes and cotton. The collection is made in France.

NVY, 33 Rue du Caire, 75002 Paris

  • Premium womenswear for 18- women
  • Average price ¤100 (£82)
  • No minimum order
  • Private label service

Denim specialist NVY offers women’s jeans in European sizes 36 to 42 in a range of colours and shapes, including skinny, boyfriend and straight leg in grey, beige, indigo, black and red. Made in Turkey with Italian cotton, the collection is of good quality but, with an average price for jeans of €36 (£30), it’s no wonder owner Banou Uyanik is finding it tough today, when high street retailers like Uniqlo, for example, offer quality jeans at low prices. “It’s been really, really hard and it’s going to get worse,” she says, adding that she will focus on increasing marketing activity for the brand in a bid to reverse her fortunes.

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