THE COUTURE PACK — OR NOT: Given the financial crisis, don’t expect a big turnout of international retailers at the couture shows in Paris Jan. 26 to 29, although the press corps will feature most of the familiar faces.
“In light of the current business and economic climate, we are taking a pass this season on the haute couture shows in January and hope to be in attendance in July,” said Ken Downing, senior vice president and fashion director at Neiman Marcus.
Linda Fargo, senior vice president, fashion office and store presentation at Bergdorf Goodman, is also skipping the French high-fashion season. “Our focus will be on all the various pre-fall markets,” she said.
Some prominent retail figures are taking a wait-and-see approach. “After the first of January, I will review the situation and make a decision,” said Joseph Boitano, senior vice president and general merchandise manager at Saks Fifth Avenue.
And Sarah Rutson, fashion director of Hong Kong-based Lane Crawford Group, said she’s likely to forgo a January trip to Paris, which is typically devoted mostly to pre-collections and men’s shows.
Julie Gilhart, senior vice president and fashion director of Barneys New York, said pre-collections would be her priority for her January trip to Europe. “We are trying to reduce the time as much as possible. It is a time to conserve expenses wherever we can, and travel is a big one,” she said. “We are hoping in the next year that the calendar for shows and appointments can be structured to reflect our need to reduce time and the expense of being away.”
American magazine editors don’t have a regular record of attendance at the couture, but the upcoming season will feature a strong showing from Vogue, with Anna Wintour, Sally Singer and Sarah Mower attending; Elle is sending market director Joann Pailey, and Harper’s Bazaar editor in chief Glenda Bailey will also be there, although the magazine declined to say whether any other staffer would accompany her. No editors are going from Glamour or Marie Claire.
From T, The New York Times Magazine, Alix Browne is attending with a stylist (either Anne Christensen or a European freelancer) and editor Stefano Tonchi is still determining his schedule.
Meanwhile, couture houses said they are awaiting confirmations from clients and editors and could not yet comment on attendance levels. — WWD Staff