Hopes for 2010 fashion recovery at Milan menswear

Mon Jan 18, 2010 12:25pm EST
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By Marie-Louise Gumuchian

MILAN (Reuters Life!) - As the global economy climbs out of the worst recession in decades, 2010 is for Italian designer Brunello Cucinelli, "the first year of a new world."

"We have returned to designing, investing in creativity which is always difficult (in such a climate)," the founder of the colorful cashmere brand that bears his name said.

"In all sectors, we do not have inventories, so we need to rebuild them."

Cucinelli is not alone in talking about a recovery. After having seen sales hurt by the global downturn last year, many executives and designers at Milan's menswear shows said they were looking ahead with guarded optimism.

"We are seeing positive signals. The (sales) haemorrhage seen at the end of 2008 and in the first half of 2009 has stopped," Gianluca Brozzetti, chief executive of fashion house Roberto Cavalli, told Reuters.

"In certain geographical areas, there is a recovery but we are cautious looking ahead ... (Compared to the first half of 2009), I confirm there is some improvement. We hope it stays in 2010."

Bain has forecast luxury goods sales to fall 8 percent to 153 billion euros ($220.2 billion) in 2009 and a tepid recovery is seen in global luxury sales this year, experts have said.

During the Christmas and early January discount sales period, Milan -- known worldwide for top fashion names such as Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada and Versace -- saw Italians and tourists flock to its stores.   Continued...