Milan fashion awaits Chinese design boom

Sun Feb 27, 2011 11:44am EST
 
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By Antonella Ciancio

MILAN (Reuters) - Chinese designers will drive catwalk trends more than deep-pocketed Asian buyers as China's creativity becomes fashions' next big thing, top fashion executives and designers told Reuters at Milan fashion week.

Chinese newly-rich fueled a record year for sales at luxury goods makers such as LVMH, with designers such as Ralph Lauren, Ermenegildo Zegna and Prada drawing inspiration from oriental prints and crystals to cater to Asian shoppers.

"The next big issue for fashion is not China's economic boom but Chinese creativity," Italian trend-setter designer and retailer Elio Fiorucci said on the sidelines of a Dolce and Gabbana show.

"We know little about Chinese sense of beauty. Chinese designers have got talent, they know all about us and they will be the next big surprise," he said.

China is predicted to become the world's biggest luxury market with sales of $14.6 billion in the next five years, according to the World Luxury Association.

However, economists say the Chinese economy's booming growth rate is bound to ease, after capping a decade of expansion at an average annual rate of more than 10.5 percent.

MIDDLE EAST CONCERNS

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<p>Models present creations by Jil Sander during their Autumn/Winter 2011 women's collection show at Milan Fashion Week February 26, 2011. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo</p>