Reading time: 7 min

After every visit to Playtime Paris, I come back home energised and very keen to write about all the wonderful things I’ve seen. An increasingly hard task, as the show keeps growing, while maintaining its selection at a high level of quality and creativity. This means alleys and alleys of beautiful and interesting collections to view (originally posted on July 9, 2015).
Season after season, brands and products slowly evolve, like a quiet wave. It is sometimes difficult to perceive the subtle changes and comments in the alleys can sometimes resonate, like “there is nothing new this season”, “it’s all the same”, etc. Part of this may be true, but it also depends on how one looks at things. I personally always try to avoid listening to a first impression, and by the end of the show I find the novelty; whether with colour palettes, cuts and details, ways to present the collections, or working patterns. There is always an evolution from the previous season, something noteworthy, elements that point to a new approach. One thing for sure. It is never boring.

The first thing I want to express in this report is my respect and admiration for the incredible amount of creative work that is put into the show. Firstly by the organisers who always manage to make it beautiful, easy to navigate and inspiring. And also by the brands, who go to great lengths to stage their collections, put together great visual support, catalogs, press material, not to mention the little goodies for journalists and bloggers. That’s always a much appreciated gesture of generosity before all.

Walking the alleys at Playtime can be positively overwhelming. The amazement only grows as you start talking to people and learning about their stories. I met a lawyer, a doctor and and two biologists at this show, all of them leaving their professional comfort zone to embrace a creative profession, kindled by their passion. All of them with great talent and freshness.

Passion among the exhibitors also expresses itself around the desire to participate in a better and greener world. I counted 120 brands with the organic/ fair trade flag, which is about a quarter of the participants. The organic + ethical revolution is no longer a niche, a trend or a temporary way to attract attention, but a sincere, natural and deep process.

It has been interesting to follow a number of new brands and see how they have grown. I was pleasantly surprised by how some labels with an initial proposal based on a mono product were able to enlarge their collection in a consistant way, without diluting the initial message. Wolf and Rita started with shirts, and now have skirts, dresses as well as a small line of beautiful modal jerseys. Little Creative Factory  started with swimsuits, and now has a full range that links well with their beach line. Hilda Henri who showed only pieces in boiled wool at her first show is now offering a full range of playful outfits that blend nicely with the wool items.  Play is Work started with leather pieces and has introduced skirts that bring a  touch of colour as well as a denim version of their leather items. I also found that Maravilla and Motoreta had deepened their range in a beautiful and thoughtful way – Maravilla with new materials and colours as well as a gorgeous hand-embroidered sweater, Motoreta with great knits and new bags.

The majority of brands at Playtime are French (131) and British (53). But Spanish brands are not far behind with 50 participants and so much creativity. Belgian labels (31) are always a must, with extensive, consistently strong and beautifully made collections, all typically at very decent prices. It’s also worth noting that the Baltic countries are clearly on the rise, with 13 exhibitors this year, Paade Mode being the most established and in many ways the most remarkable. Portugal is also ever more in evidence, both as a source of interesting brands, with 8 of them present, and of course as a manufacturing destination, considering all of the brands who produce in the country, a number which grows every year. Sissonne, exhibiting for the first time, came with a charming and poetic line.

There isn’t the space here to mention all the brands I loved. It was a challenge simply to visit every single booth! Here’s a small selection of my favourites. I will be posting about more brands separately in the coming weeks.

Favourite Campaigns

Little Creative Factory SS016

Little Creative Factory BarcelonaLittle Creative Factory (Spain)

Photo: Elena López de Lamadrid
Art direction: Lekuonastudio

Motoreta S/S 2016Motoreta (Spain)

Macaronsmacarons play paper S/S16

Macarons (Germany)

Their newspaper called “Play Paper” is cool and clever, featuring interviews with the creators, products from the S/S16 collection, photos taken by the production unit as well as travel stories. A fun way to give a 360-degree portrait of the brand.

Favourite Debutants at Playtime

Bacabuche

Bacabuche (New York, USA)

carlotabarnabeSS16_02Carlota Barnabe (Portugal)

A new brand with ethical and ecological awareness +commitment to care for the planet. Their line is inspired by the simplicity, the creativity and the children’s sense of humor.

Favourite Embroideries

S/S16 Nikolia

This lovely coat by Nikolia is hand embroidered in Lithuania.

Toosamacginty S/S16

Tootsa MacGinty (UK)

Favourite Dresses

No Added Sugar S/S16

Printed dress by No added sugar (UK)

s/s16 Velveteen

Romantic dress by Velveteen (Hong Kong)S/S16 Yellow Pelota

Cotton dress by Yellow Pelota (Spain)

Favourite Come Back

If you remember NY brand Kicokids, you’ll be happy to know that it is back under the name of the owner/designer : Tia Cibani Kids. The line is full of colours and mouvement, with interesting details and cuts.

S/S16 Tia Cibani Kids

Tia Cibani Kids

Favourite Story Telling

The twisted T’s and bucket bag of Luluzulu use original gyotaku fish prints. Gyotaku (Japanese from gyo “fish” + taku “rubbing”) is the traditional Japanese method of printing fish, a practice which dates back to the mid-1800s and used by fishermen to record their catches. The fishes are dried, oiled, soaked with ink and pressed on paper. That must be fun to do!

Luluzulu S/S16

Their inspired socks take their cue from Koinobori (meaning “carp streamer” in Japanese), or carp-shaped wind socks traditionally flown in Japan to celebrate Children’s Day (Tango no Sekku). These wind socks are made by drawing carp patterns on paper, cloth or other nonwoven fabric. They are then allowed to flutter in the wind in honor of children for a good future and in the hope that they will grow up healthy and strong. A nice thing to think about while getting dressed in the morning.

Luluzulu Socks

 Luluzulu (UK)

EFVVA S/S16

EFVVA (Poland)

Each season, This young brand creates a collection around a painter or an art mouvement. The S/S16 Collection called”Fiesta” is inspired by Frida Kahlo, Aztec craft and Mexican folk art. All prints are exclusive and hand-made. The shoes are always really special and inspiring.

Favourite Jewelry

I am rarely very attentive to jewellery as it tends to be inconspicuous in a trade fair setting, but my eye was caught by the collaborations that Little Titlee did with Sweetcase and with Coral and Tusk, very elegantly displayed on walls and wooden cubes. All the products are very refined and unique.
TITLEExCORAL&TUSK_HD_1-2

 Little Titlee (France)Coral and Tusk (USA)

SWEETCASE x TITLEE - coffret-cadeau-naissance-doudou

Little Titlee + Sweetcase (France)

Favourite Booth Set Up

HaasHella and Talitha (designer/owner) of Haas

Favourite Babyknitt

Kalinka S/S16

Kalinka (Bulgaria)

Personal Crush

ARCH&LINE2016SS

Arch&Line (Japan)

SS 16 Milk and Biscuits

Milk and biscuit, (UK) – already a favourite in July 2014.

 
Favourite Product Design

Mini Archi

Mini Archi (Belgium) : playful, intelligent objects, modular systems that allow children to develop their sense of composition.

Favourite Installation

Zoe Aldesberg

Bravo to Zoe Adlersberg for her disco installation. One of the inspiring trend spots that are spread at the show.

 

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