Crunched fashionistas still want novelty: experts

Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:46am EST
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By Marie-Louise Gumuchian

MILAN (Reuters) - Fashion followers may be opting for more toned creations in the context of global economic woes but they still want novelty in their wardrobes, industry experts at Milan's menswear fashion week said.

Luxury brands have not been spared by the credit crunch, with bankers and hedge fund managers unlikely to splurge on luxurious items while the financial sector is hurting.

Recession fears are also curbing the enthusiasm of younger, aspirational shoppers whose rising incomes and love for designer items have buoyed luxury goods companies for years.

"There has been a very big change, there has never been such a fast change (in fashion consumption)," Salvatore Ferragamo Chief Executive Michele Norsa told Reuters after the brand's Autumn/Winter 2009/2010 menswear catwalk show.

"The positive aspect is that people still want to buy, you can see that every day on the street .. at outlets ... There is more attention paid to value, a product that lasts, brands ... There is attention to price."

Ferragamo presented a soft-touch collection with cardigan coats, cashmere double-breasted jackets and long-johns in natural colors. Leather items were soft and unstructured.

"For sure it is the work suit, the one that makes you think of banks, that is suffering the most at this time. Instead people will surely dress in a more relaxed way," Norsa said.

Massimo Ferretti, chairman of fashion holding Aeffe, also said consumers were more attentive to prices.   Continued...

<p>A model displays a creation as part of the Roberto Cavalli Fall/Winter 2009/10 men's collections during Milan Fashion Week January 18, 2009. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo</p>