Thursday, October 9, 2008

Visit to TexWorld in Paris

TexWorld took place in Paris from September 22 to September 25 and Alex and I had the pleasure of going there to see all the new styles and colors for the Winter 2009/2010 Season.

Let me start out by saying that I love Paris. I love the architecture. I love the food. I love the museums. I love the ambiance. And I even love the French people who are always so kind and accommodating as Alex and I butcher their language. (We can't understand why some people think they're arrogant when we've had nothing but wonderful experiences on our visits to France.)

We were really excited to have the opportunity to travel there to attend TexWorld and then to meet with many lovely people at Anny Blatt.

The conference itself was held at Le Bourget which is on the outskirts of Paris. We had our plans all figured out -- take that train to the Le Bourget station, catch a shuttle bus, and we'd have no problem getting to the trade show. Imagine our surprise when our train stopped a few stations earlier and we were asked to get out because it was not going any further. A "disturbance" had forced the cancellation of trains to our station.

Now, if you live in France you know that these disturbances happen all the time. I was once working at an office there (in my previous corporate life) when the city came to a standstill because farmers were staging a protest and shut down the streets. This is pretty common, and it doesn't faze the French at all. They improvise. But we very perplexed about what we'd do next in order to reach our destination.

Much to our relief, we soon saw was a young lady holding up a big sign that said, "TexWorld" so we approached her. She pointed us up an escalator when another young lady holding a sign pointed us toward yet another sign. Sure enough, they had people directing us toward buses awaiting confused TexWorld attendees. That bus took us right to the door of the conference. Alex and I were impressed with how quickly the TexWorld folks had responded to what must have been an early morning crisis for them.

Anyway, we got to TexWorld and were astounded by the enormity of the show. I mean, this was massive...and perhaps even larger than the shows in Florence. There were companies from all over the world proudly displaying their fabrics and fibers and I was almost overwhelmed with the desire to start grabbing the stuff and shoving it into my bag. These were fashion items you wouldn't even see for another year, and they were gorgeous!

After taking a couple of shots we learned that cameras were not permitted on the floor -- except by the media -- so I'll have to be sure to register myself as journalist for Shear Bagatelle next year.

We were amazed by the heavy representation of companies from China, Pakistan, India and many of the Eastern European countries. I'm afraid we didn't see any manufacturers from the US or Canada, which was disappointing, but there were a lot of people who'd traveled from North America to see the show.

We spent quite a while looking at the booths, gathering brochures, examining the colors (black and purple again, ladies) and lusting after all the fashions on display. The mills have become so sophisticated that there's really no limit to the variety and complexity of the products they produce.

It was a fascinating experience and we're really delighted that we had the opportunity to attend. Now we can start planning for 2009/2010 Winter Season with a better idea of what our knitters are going to want to make and which yarns we ought to make sure we're offering.

Oh, reduce costs (because we're well traveled but cheap) we rented an apartment rather than stay at a hotel. That way, we could make some of our own meals, too. Well, we went out and bought some ham from a butcher, cheese from a cheese shop and bread from a boulangerie and for the first three days all we ate were ham sandwiches. I swear, they were so delicious that we didn't want anything else! There's something about the food there. Maybe it's fresher and not filled with preservatives. Of course, we did go to Alex's favorite place for lunch: Les Deux Magots. It's where philosophers like Sartre used to hang out. I had a cup of hot chocolate there that is quite possibly is the best hot chocolate on the planet.

Alex took the shot of the Eiffel Tower at the top of this posting. It was blue to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the EU. Every hour, on the hour, it bursts into a zillion sparkling lights, much to the delight of tourists who stand in awe of such a beautiful sight.

If you're like me and you're probably only going to get one life on this planet, don't you wish you could live that one life in Paris?, too.

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