Cautious buyers find what they want on catwalks

Wed Oct 7, 2009 12:35pm EDT
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By Marie-Louise Gumuchian

PARIS (Reuters Life!) - Fashion designers can breathe a sigh of relief.

After a frenzied month of eyeing up catwalk designs in New York, London, Milan and Paris, cautious fashion buyers attending spring/summer 2010 shows say they have got what they wanted -- outfits they say they can sell in these tough economic times.

They say designers have kept the financial crisis in mind, preferring the demure over the eccentric, but also presented standout pieces crunched customers are looking for.

"This season has been a very commercial season. Many designers are working at their very best. This is very good for buyers," said Daniil Gorbachenko, creative director of Moscow's prestigious department store Tsum.

He said he was looking for comfortable jackets and sellable dresses. "I am very happy with what I've seen."

Designers in London defied the economic gloom with colorful creations. Hemlines headed up in Milan and New York while Paris had plenty of lacy stockings, bra straps and exposed knickers.

Buyers say they liked this feminity. Pascale Camart, a buyer from France's Galeries Lafayette, said there was less "bling bling," adding: "It's time to turn the clocks back."

The recession has taken its toll on retailers, with the European luxury market declining by nearly 6 percent to about 81 billion euros ($119.1 billion) this year, Verdict Research said.   Continued...

<p>Models present creations by Italian designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli as part of their Spring/Summer 2010 women's collection for fashion house Valentino during Paris Fashion Week, October 6, 2009. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier</p>