Fashion firms take on slimmer silhouettes for shows
By Astrid Wendlandt and Marie-Louise Gumuchian
PARIS/MILAN (Reuters) - Fancy canapes and champagne have become rarer, guest-lists smaller and celebrities tougher to find in the front rows of some fashion shows these days.
From New York to London, Paris and Milan, fashion houses, particularly smaller ones, have cut back on catwalk expenses while others have pulled shows altogether as the luxury sector feels growing pain from the downturn.
At Milan womenswear fashion week which ends March 4, the number of shows slipped to 79 against 99 last year.
"There are fewer catwalk shows but more presentations," Mario Boselli, chairman of Italy's National Chamber of Fashion, said, adding more brands were presenting overall at the week.
Examples of brands staying off the podiums include La Perla, which opted for presentations by appointment.
In January, there were 20 percent fewer shows at menswear fashion week, Boselli said. Italy's textile and clothing sector is already seeking government help as the crisis sweeps into the demand for clothes and accessories.
Buyers attending fashion shows -- from small trendy boutiques in Paris or Milan or department stores such as Saks and Bloomingdale's in New York -- said they planned to reduce their purchases this year, some by up to 30 percent.
At New York fashion week last month, regulars said shows were smaller, several had empty seats, the usual gift bags were minimal or missing and several familiar faces in the fashion industry were absent from the audiences. Continued...