Milan fashion opts for light, timeless and wearable

Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:07pm EDT
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By Antonella Ciancio

MILAN (Reuters) - Designers at Milan Fashion Week delivered lightweight and flowing dresses for the thrifty woman seeking a timeless look that will last more than a season in the age of austerity.

Sheer dresses in pastel colors dominated the 2013 spring/summer shows, which ended on Tuesday with a call for restraint on the catwalk from designer Giorgio Armani.

"Our work as designers is to suggest what people wear. What's the point of showing 30 pieces that don't go into the stores?" Armani asked reporters.

Fashion executives meeting in Milan acknowledged that the economic environment was getting tougher for luxury makers as growth slows in China and recession hits southern Europe.

Sales of Italian fashion are expected to fall 5.6 percent this year after growing 6 percent last year, according to the National Chamber of Italian Fashion.

The decline makes Italy the worst performing market in a global luxury industry expected to grow 7 percent this year.

Luxury goods makers Salvatore Ferragamo and Prada dismissed concerns of a sharp slowdown among global players with retail exposure to emerging countries.

"We follow China with great attention. But the (growth) trend remains," Ferragamo Chief Executive Michele Norsa said on the sidelines of his label's show.   Continued...

Italian designer Roberto Cavalli and his wife Eva acknowledge applause on the catwalk at the end of his Spring/Summer 2013 collection at Milan Fashion Week September 24, 2012. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo