Shadowed by giants, Milan young designers seek break

Fri Oct 2, 2009 10:19am EDT
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By Marie-Louise Gumuchian

MILAN (Reuters) - To fashionistas around the world, Milan is best known for established brands such as Giorgio Armani, Prada and Versace but its young and upcoming designers are eager to show it is also a hive of emerging talent.

Fashion-lovers agree that London, whose designers are considered among the most avant garde, is unrivalled in nurturing new names. But Milan has plenty to say too.

Italy's national chamber of fashion is seeking to help young designers carve a name for themselves and organizes catwalk shows for a select few at the start of Milan fashion week.

"It is very difficult (to start out)," upcoming designer Cristiano Burani said backstage at his show during the just-ended Milan fashion week. His collection featured frilled jackets, flowery dresses, satin skirts and hot pants.

"The chamber gives us visibility, showing we have something to say alongside the big brands."

Burani, like many of his peers, has worked for major design houses. He and four others were picked by a jury which included buyers from stores like Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue to show their work as part of the "Fashion Incubator" project.

The initiative aims to help young brands start up, setting up meetings with advisers on marketing, pricing and licenses.

"It's very difficult to make it, that's why we need occasions like these," Alessandro Biasi said. His A-Lab line was inspired by forests in fairy tales, mixing beige and green for drape-like skirts. Models' hair set as birds' nests.   Continued...