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Still in the crazy world of trade shows

  • By Catherine Clavering
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Still in the crazy world of trade shows

I’m not sure whether things are more surreal than usual, or whether I’m just more awake this year at trade shows than I have been. Either way, I’m a bit bizarred out by them. Admittedly, in Paris I spend alot of time speaking atrociously bad French, which is disorientating in itself – probably for the poor buyers I am talking to as well.

Anyway, this year I really couldn’t handle doing a round of trade shows as an exhibitor again in September, so instead I worked for Playful Promises at Paris. You can thank Laura for this picture of the lovely rainbow carpets they put down OUTSIDE at Mode City. Granted, the weather there is much better than London, but even so, after 3 days . . . grubby.

Did you know most carpeting used during exhibitions is thrown away after one use? Crazy. Though apparently they do their best to recycle it into other stuff now. I totally get why the queen gets to have carpets everywhere though, its so much nicer on the feet, which I really appreciate after a day in high heels.

The different colours take you to different sections by the way, lingerie, fabrics, jewellry, handbags, and so on.

As you trundle up the carpets there’s always something strange to look at. This year it was a giant cock.

I have minimal idea what this was advertising, or what on earth the point was, except that it was tempting everyone to go and clamber on it. Bad idea, as it was hollow and so, wobbly. Wobbly cocks just aren’t safe.

The stand next to it was a beach hut, entirely covered in spangly flip flops – single ones, of course, to prevent theft.

They decided to get arty this year so when you went into the lingerie hall, you wandered through this, which had strange “you are underwater” type music piped through it . . . so you’d expect the none jellyfish things to be swimwear, right? Wrong! Big retro knickers sets!

One day, we may have enough money to have surreal marketing ideas and then make everyone wandering past look and experience severe, if momentary, confusion.

Our evening social was accompanied by some sort of band including one of giant oompaphone thingies (what?! I was in a British Brass Band, so we never got taught what these things were, but they clearly go oompa). I was grumpy because all the canapes had wheat in, which I can’t eat, so we left before any of our party could get too drunk on the freebies. Nobody wants me to go without food too long. It’s unpleasant, and you have to make sure there’s no weapons around.

No pictures of the inside, because everyone was feeling a bit twitchy about people being “inspired” by other peoples designs, and also my pictures are bad enough at the best of times even without the very peculiar lighting they chose this year. Honourable mention though to Tallulah Love, who was next to Playful Promises at the show, and has some really, really beautiful stuff on the way. Plus, she’s short, northern, wears unsuitable high heels and alot of cleavage, so . . . yeah, we’ll probably get on.

Fast forward a couple of days and I’m back in London, just in time for the last day of the London Edge show – the UK’s trade show for the alternative fashion sector. Think goth, punk, fetish, corsets, crazy wigs, and really big shoes. I went to catch up with a few exhibiting colleagues for a project I’m working on, and not discussing in case it all comes to nothing and I fall flat on my face :)

I do not know why an alternative trade show needs an acrobatics display that doesn’t involve any of the products there, but I did appreciate it way more than I appreciate catwalks!

I also really appreciated the free icecream. I’m not sure when icecream started coming in tiny pellets that taste like the sweets we ate as kids (only cold), but it was also more entertaining than catwalks. that might be quite a low standard though, unless its like, a Chanel catwalk.

Then I ran home with a head full of ideas and and a bunch of people I should email, and have since mostly been doing admin and fretting about whether we have the right size of bows in time for the longline girdles. Which we don’t. Ah well.

So, glamorous, as always :)

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