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Style 2009-2010 Milan

by Bernardo van Eekhout in Lifestyle & Fashion , 16 oktober 2009


The continuing economical crisis is the cause for some jet-black pages in the history of fashion. Practically every Italian fashion label is reporting losses over 2008. And the forecasts for 2009 also remain negative. As a result of the crisis about 11.5 million jobs have been lost in the textile industry since June 2008. These insecure times have created a fearful consumer, who rather saves than spends.

Shopping just for fun has changed into a consideration of “what do I really need?” Frivolously spending money is out of fashion, for now...

The message from Milan is clear: simple clothes. No unnecessary frills or flashy (logo) designer fashion, but simple and classic clothing items that keep for longer that just one season. Because in these uncertain times the consumer doesn’t like drastic changes, but prefers to harp back on old and reliable values. People rather invest in safe and durable clothing items instead of trendy stuff. It’s not the right time for renovations, but rather a revaluation of well produced quality classics.


Well-known names are no guarantee for high sales rates. Research shows that people are less fixed on labels than they were say ten years ago. Consumer confidence in big labels has dropped over the last fifteen years with fifty percent.

Forty-four percent of the Dutch population says they are sensitive to the crisis, which means they will adapt their spending pattern. Turnover in fashion sales has dropped by eight percent in the first quarter of 2009, compared to 2008.

The Dutch consumer is putting fewer items on the sales desk. Rising unemployment and dropping wages have direct impact on spending budgets. Consumers spend less, and start looking for cheaper alternatives.

“The consumers still want the products of the best Made-in-Italy quality, but they’re not willing to spend much money on it. That’s the most important lesson we’ve learned recently,” says the chairman of the Milan Men’s Fashion Fair.

Versace will therefore reintroduce their sub-label Versus from Spring 2010, aiming for an annual turnover of about 700 million euro. The Italian men’s fashion industry saw it’s turnover drop with 0.8%.

The export of Italian fashion dropped at the beginning of 2009 with ten percent. Analysts expect the sales of luxury goods to drop with ten percent over 2009.

Especially the sales in America are showing a steep drop, while markets like China and the Middle East are holding on.

Research shows that more than half the participating Americans will spend less on expensive designer clothes in 2009.

“For me, personally, America is no longer the future it used to be,” says Stefano Gabbana. “Business is bad everywhere. Rich people still spend money but they are much more careful. Men are different however. Why?

Because my male customer is between thirty and forty years old and single. He only spends money on himself. The money hasn’t changed, the mentality is. I think it’s a mistake to think it’s equally bad everywhere. There’s much more money in China and Japan than in America.”

From summer 2010 all the prices of D&G will be slashed with twenty percent. “This is the only way to safe the market and our company,” says the fashion duo.



Black Hole

The income from the Italian fashion industry has dropped with four percent over 2008. The Italian government is working on a stimulus plan for the car industry and perhaps also considering a similar intervention in the fashion industry. “Of course the car industry should get the support, but what about us?” says Mario Boselli, head of the Italian Fashion Chamber. “We’re not going to make it through this economical crisis with only our own financial resources.”

Research by Akzo Nobel (the largest paint producer in the world) shows that there’s a connection between the color choice of people and the economic state of affairs. In times of economic recession neutral colors like black and white are preferred. In Western Europe and America, the regions most severely hit and in deep recession at the moment, colors of choice are white, beige and grey. You’ll find these exact colors in basically every Italian collection right now. Optimistic colors are still put “on hold” for a while. Black and all shades of grey form the absolute must-haves for the coming autumn / winter season.

Like the Prada collection. Otherwise always good for interesting fashion novelties, Miuccia Prada now presents a simple and reliable collection with an abundance of perfectly cut grey double-breasted suits with matching overcoats. V-neck sweaters come in cashmere or black leather with matching leather jackets without lapels. “Surviving,” Miuccia Prada said her introvert men’s collection was about. “And to survive you have to be strong. It’s about the closed-in space we find ourselves in, and all the pressures we feel.”



The grey pants, the overcoats and white t-shirts are decorated only with little silver studs and beads, even all the way into the shoes of the models. Miuccia Prada is convinced she will not be the only one feeling the effects of the crisis. “I don’t know why everybody always thinks it’s the expensive labels that will suffer. It will go for the whole thing because the distinguished customer also buys expensive art, and furniture and design, etc. I’m happy we’ve always worked harder on the product than on the label Prada because this is now paying off. During periods of crisis the winners usually were the ones that added some extra creativity. Times of crisis push people to do their utmost.” Still Prada reported a drop in profit of twenty-two percent over 2008.

Burberry has lost 5.1 million pounds in 2008. Especially the second half of 2008 was one of the most difficult years in luxury land ever, they admitted. So creative director Christopher Bailey takes no risks, which resulted in a rather melancholic collection with a central position for the very famous checked Burberry scarf. It will sell indeed, this scarf, and make a nice little profit.

“I wanted to return to the DNA of Burberry, that’s why the check pattern is so central,” says Christopher Bailey. The most classic fabrics and designs, such as tweed, fish-grate and Prince of Wales for narrow pants, militaristic coats and crushed white shirts with stitched collar in black and various greys. “I wanted to give the collection a nostalgic feel, poetic. Clothing should be simple and familiar. I think this is really the time to go back where we’ve come from. This collection is to celebrate Burberry’s history and its icons.”

Italian Roots

Black and greys in all shades binds the sober and timeless collection of Costume National Homme together. All men’s classics come past: striped suits, vests, turtlenecks, overcoats, and leather motor jackets in combination with dark denim. Perfectly made in the noblest fabrics. The only color during the show comes from the bright-red soles of the models’ shoes.

“I’ve dubbed my collection ‘Effortless Tailoring’ because I think that is what men are looking for these days,” says creative director Ennio Capasa. “Nothing over the top. I had a strong urge for emotional comfort and discretion and luxurious material, and quality cut clothes. The real luxury is you can wear this marvelous piece of clothing again and again. Depending on your mood, without having to take trends and status symbols in mind.” Ennio hopes that people can still enjoy the things they have, even though it’s crisis: “Try to be cool about it. Enjoy the real quality around you.”



Dolce&Gabbana went back to their births roots on Sicily for this winter collection. Directly from internet we got this fabulous “best of”. No fashion revelation but a line-up of the best D&G have to offer. Sharply cut suits, trench coats, short croc jackets, fishing caps: luxurious Italian macho looks. All in various intensities of black: velvet, silk, and even crocodile leather.

“The day after the show we received the first orders by telephone already,” says Stefano Gabbana. The only colorful accent comes from a bright-pink moiré-silk double-breasted suit. Highlights of the collection are the handmade jackets of bands of silk in block patterns in black, grey or pink, which are available in a limited edition. Video screens at the side of the catwalk showed how much work it was to make these.

“Especially today one needs to think positive and work hard. We have to offer the customer a dream. To distinguish ourselves we need to make clothes that are hard to copy, so things get expensive.” The padded pants from the D&G collection caused a real riot. Giorgio Armani accused them of plagiarism and claimed to have made the pants in an earlier collection. “We certainly still have a lot to learn, but most definitely not from Armani. He’s never been an inspiration to us, we stopped watching his shows years ago.” A more serious complaint though, is from the Italian tax office. They say D&G are committing fraud. Apparently they haven’t paid sufficient taxes and now risk a fine of about 1.2 billion dollar.

New Start

For their debut collection for the label Gianfranco Ferré design duo Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi play with the architectonic approach to fashion of the late designer Ferré. With a lot of round and square shapes. “It’s our first men’s collection and we worked on it with a lot of energy and faith,” said the duo. “We purposely didn’t look at any archive material, we focused on Ferré as a character, not on his actual work. We had to transport the label into the future and it is our responsibility to present new ideas. The silhouette is very slim this year. Very square and round, because if you are an architect you mainly work with squares and circles.”

Black leather coats and jackets have high collars and rounded broad shoulders. The narrow pants under them strengthen the silhouette. Loosely knitted sweaters in black and white with matching XL scarves have Michelin like proportions, they look like the ideal sweaters to hide in. Very narrowly cut suits in glossy silver-grey high-tech fabrics produce the trademark narrow Ferré pencil silhouette. “We work together with Italian fabric factories combining materials for us especially.” They are very aware of the fact that it’s hard to stay positive, but they hope their ten-minute show gives their audience a breath of something new every six months.



With his third collection for Trussardi 1911 creative director Milan Vukmirovic hopes to revive this 100-year-old Italian fashion label. “To work with something that’s one hundred years old, you have to respect your heritage, but you have to offer a long term strategy as well. You mainly need time,” says Vukmirovic. He describes the Trussardi man for 2009/2010 as an English dandy going West. It’s Italian luxury and design at its best. Simple three-quarter jackets with golden zippers. Sometimes indeed to close a garment, but also as decoration along lapels and sleeves.

The vests have low-cut collars over shirts with linear grey prints. Draped cowboy scarves are seen all through the collection. “It’s a luxurious and somewhat folklorist collection for Trussardi 1911.” The variations on the classic overcoat with contrasting sleeves are interesting. Also the cavalier tweed suit, two-colored at waist height and with narrow rolled-up pants. Novel classic with a twist. The white poplin shirts with grey bird prints are a must-have. “A new chapter for Trussardi 1911.”



 







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