by John Russel Jones

“I still have a lot to discover. But it’s a nice time. There’s a lot to rebuild, to change to modify, and to evolve.”

Igor Bonnet, Première Vision Chief Operating Officer

Première Vision Paris marked both successful physical and digital events earlier this month, with a combined total of 74,600 visitors, bringing attendance up 18% from the September 2021 show. The exciting hybrid approach signals hope for an industry that’s struggled through the last few years of pandemic restrictions.

We had a chance to catch up with Première Vision’s (PV) new Chief Operating Officer, Igor Bonnet, back in January during the New York edition of the popular materials show. Bonnet started with PV back in September, moving from the swimwear industry where he’d been with global brand Arena in sourcing, product development, and category management. He’d also spent time “in a previous life” as an engineer in the oil industry, working in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. While he recognizes that the sport world isn’t the same as fashion, he’s spent enough time in factories to understand the needs of modern brands. “What I liked about (coming to PV) is the opportunity to connect people and to stimulate meetings, inspiration, and creativity. It’s still fresh. I haven’t finished the first season cycle yet,” says Bonnet, “so I still have a lot to discover. But it’s a nice time. There’s a lot to rebuild, to change to modify, and to evolve.” 

Button points out that the market’s mindset has changed, with a dramatic increase in interest for digital interaction and sustainability. PV launched its digital equivalent, Marketplace, just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit and has been quite pleased with its performance. “The traffic we have on Marketplace is just incredible,” says Bonnet. “It’s not perfect, yet, but It has evolved and we see where we are going to improve it. It’s got huge traffic and gives very good visibility to the exhibitors throughout the year. Now is PV not just one event twice a year for a few days, it’s throughout the year. We see that people also use it to prepare for their visits to the physical shows. They go there and try to anticipate what they’re going to see and be more efficient.”

As Bonnet point out, everything is hybrid now, and complimentary: “You need to touch the fabric. You need to see the colors in it. So, you can’t be just digital, but it’s a good support, especially to give visibility to all the exhibitors. I think it’s a constant inspiration. In the past there were two collections a year, then four collections a year, and now there’s a drop every month. Now some brands have gone back to just two, while others are saying we aren’t even doing collections, anymore. We need to be ready for all of that, to be there and push the app, and to give all the tools to the industry and to the market so they can find what they need when they need it.”

The team at PV is making other changes as well. Desolina Suter joined the company in January as its Fashion Director. Souter, an Italian, has already been collaborating with PV for 15 years in the market there. “She’s lived half of her life in France and half in Italy,” says Bonnet. “She knows both markets very well and has both Italian flair and French style.”

Bonnet’s plan for now is to stick closely to the marketplace. “This year we want to get back to business. We have many projects for the following years. But you need to keep your head three seasons working ahead of time, set long term goals, stick to the strategy and then tactically every season you try to adapt a little bit.”

Next events for Première Vision include a Made In France event on March 30th and 31st in Paris, and Denim Première Vision in Berlin on May 17th and 18th. The show returns to New York on July 19th and 20th, 2022.