Young designers shrug off crisis to fire up Milan

Wed Feb 25, 2009 4:45pm EST
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By Marie-Louise Gumuchian

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy's young fashion designers kicked off the Milan womenswear shows on Wednesday, betting on novelty and fresh ideas to win over a fragile industry in a tough economic climate.

Showing their collections at the Autumn/Winter 2009/2010 fashion week, four new designers picked by Italy's National Chamber of Fashion said times were certainly tough to start out in but that did not mean there was no room for new talent.

"Starting now is difficult ... there is less demand now because of the economic circumstances," 23-year old Alessia De Pasquale said.

"But the fashion industry is always looking for new ideas, new talent, fresh things ... It's important to stand out."

De Pasquale, who is based in London and has worked at top fashion houses such Burberry and Aquascutum, presented a menswear collection that took inspiration from the 1950s but also had a modern twist.

She added a double collar on white shirts, expanded the top of trousers that finished at the ankle and put tiny leather-bag-like details on jacket shoulders.

Luxury brands have not been spared by the economic turmoil and the sector has been hit by growing evidence of restrained spending for clothes and accessories even among the super-rich.

Italy's fashion industry is already hurting and its bodies have warned of risks for the sector and called for government help.   Continued...

<p>Italian actress and designer Valeria Marini (C) acknowledges the applause at the end of the presentation of her Seduzioni Diamonds Valeria Marini Fall/Winter 2009/10 women's collection during Milan Fashion Week February 25, 2009. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini</p>