Fur, leather, felt, feathers, mother-of-pearl and metal meshes were some of the important stories at Mod’Amont, the French trimmings and fasteners fair. A record-breaking turnout confirmed renewed interest in using decorative and functional trims to add value and build brand image.

Final attendance figures just released by the organisers of the Mod’Amont trimmings and fasteners fair held in Paris last month reveal the event to be a record breaker in every sense. The fair attracted some l9,577 visitors, 20 per cent more than in February 2003, with foreign visitors comprising 64 per cent of the total attendance.

The autumn Mod'Amont was remarkable for the upturn in buyers from Eastern Europe and from Russia. However, there was also a pleasing rise in the number of Japanese and Far Eastern visitors. And numbers from North America were significantly up on last year at 692, despite the fact that this year's Mod'Amont dates clashed with those of New York Fashion Week.

Fur, leather, felt, feathers, mother-of-pearl and metal meshes were some of the important stories at Mod'Amont, the French trimmings and fasteners fair. A record-breaking turnout confirmed renewed interest in using decorative and functional trims to add value and build brand image.

As well as the emphasis on fur, leather treated in innovative ways was an important story. New Italian exhibitor Grossi introduced leather laser-cut to look like lace, while other manufacturers introduced leather trims with fancy finishes achieved by embossing, flocking, coating and printing.

Seripress Eurl introduced a range of leather trimmings specifically targeted to the lingerie trade as an updated alternative to the more usual lace decorations. And at Dida, leather medallions stamped to resemble antique coins and leather corset lacings were topical introductions.

Lacing is no longer confined to corsetry but is expected to make its debut as a decoration on every type of garment from beachwear bikinis to heavy overcoats. This is also expected to create booming sales in the metal trims sector for specialist manufacturers of eyelet rims.

But while leather moves ever more strongly into the clothing components market, fabric claims a larger role in the winter 2003 footwear scene with Mod'Amont exhibitors predicting a vogue for water repellent quilted denim as the material for next season's winter boots.

The interest in components with a military flavour, the more widespread use of webbing and of camouflage print effects continues as a recurrent theme of trims aimed at the outdoor and sportswear trade.

Revival of interest
A newly emerging look centres around the revival of interest in the 'op art' patterns last in vogue in the l970s. Swirling motifs that appear to "move" the longer the eye lingers, decorated belt clasps and ceramic or enamelled items to be incorporated in clothing components were all featured.

Countering this concentration on black and white, Swarovski is expanding into additional fashion colours in its range of real crystal garment trims as well as latching on to the feeling for iridescence with 'pearl' beading.

Mother-of-pearl becomes a key material for buttons and classic two and four hole buttons themselves become a fashion feature. As well as being used as functional fasteners, closely packed mother-of-pearl buttons are sewn to mounting tapes for easy attachment to garments or accessories such as handbags or even shoes.

Similarly, classic design buttons are seen as the choice for the new season's tweeds and woollens with both mother-of-pearl and horn a particularly strong story from the German Rosenfelder group.

Mode Harnony also looks set to benefit from the increased interest in mother-of-pearl buttons but also offers a range of glitter-dusted designs.

With so much interest in buttons for winter 2004/5, zips tend to take something of a back seat. The market is apparently ripe to fragment into volume producers working across a range of sectors, including fashion, and producers of 'fashion zips' which adopt colours and themes which link into the latest garment trends.

In metal trims Foin (ETS) cashes in on the recent vogue for mesh with a 2lst century version of mediaeval chain mail. This is obviously lighter in weight and infinitely suppler than the ancient armour or the metal meshes today sold into protective wear.

At Linea Prestige, too, there is a change direction inherent in the switch from the mirror bright finish on metal trims such as steel snaffles to more muted, matt surfaces. This Italian company, which normally targets the shoe trade, also reported an above average take-up of its latest collection from sportswear manufacturers.

Fluorescent brights
On bindings and edgings keeping in step with fashion usually means dyeing to the most vivid shades of orange, one of several fluorescent bright colours tipped as autumn 2004 winners.

These tones are also featured in the Malmic Lace range of gimps and rick-rack braids for trimming all types of winter garments. They edge the lapels of tailored jackets and draw the eye to the hemlines of early 60s style circular skirts. Whether there will actually be a return to the use of felt to create accurate reproductions of the felt skirts so popular in that period is questionable, but several houses offering felt are pinning their hopes on just such a renaissance.

From felt to feathers - plumes of all types, but especially ostrich feathers, are now also being dyed to the new super bright shades. An interesting development from feather specialist Plumes de Belgique is a fringing so fine that at first glance it appears to be composed of human hair but which is in fact made from segmented feathers.

Plumes de Belgique, incidentally, comments that its products provide an ideal alternative for consumers who avoid fur for conscientious reasons, but still want the appeal of obviously natural trimmings.

By Sonia Roberts.