The February 2013 edition of Le Cuir à Paris confirms the validity of its formula which year after year increases the number of exhibitors and visitors

A fair that grows from season to season as regards both exhibitors and visitors, albeit in a market situation that remains difficult and dampens enthusiasm.

This is the outcome of Le Cuir à Paris, the leather and components fair held in the French capital in February with the new summer collections of 349 exhibitors (+22.5%) and attendance of 13,044 visitors (+6.5%).

A fair whose strength, apart from good organization, lies certainly in the date, perfect to satisfy the requirements of designers and creators of international names and brands, who represent the typical attendees at this event. The wise choice of dates is on a level with the wealth of new offers: exhibitors arrive with already complete collections all of the highest standard. A fair considered by all to function well, as we said, thanks also to concomitance with Modamont and Première Vision but which from the commercial point of view cannot hide the wounds of the crisis and ongoing problems of the leather sector: too expensive raw hides, unfavourable euro/dollar exchange, an excess of offers in the face of a consumer market that continues to suffer, above all in the medium range.

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As usual the largest national group at this fair is that of Italy with a quota of 57% of the total, way ahead of France itself (17%). It is in fact the Italians who are worried about the excess of offers, on a designer market that is actually not so big. It’s true that the luxury segment continues to function but even here everything is not rosy, as many tanners have pointed out. There are not many operators who accept the higher prices due to increases in raw hides and in labour costs.

As regards offers, at this edition an important contribution to innovation was the set up of Incube, a new area that, apart from housing a selection of very technically advanced leather sample, reunited a group of chemicals-tanning firms that exhibit under the umbrella of Material Preview (the mini fair which is held in Florence on the occasion of Pitti Uomo), that also brought avant-garde collections to show tanners for new projects.

As to trends seen at the fair, offers for S/S 2014 are as always very varied and range between opposites. The high-quality classics are indeed the real bestsellers but there is still room also for punched and printed items, metallized and varnished effects so long as they are soft. Also important are the exotic skins such as crocodile, alligator and python with fresh finishes and appealing tones. Reds, greens and blues are the popular colours along with naturals from ivory to chocolate and a great variety of beige and brown in between.

For those interested in an analysis of visitors at this edition, some 84% were from Europe but there was also good attendance from the United States (+9%), Japan, Korea, China (-36% due to the fair coinciding with the Chinese New Year), Brazil and Russia.
Looking ahead, the next edition of Le Cuir à Paris is scheduled for 17 to 19 September. A move to Hall 3 (instead of 4) has already been announced, so as to increase the exhibition space further.