By and  on March 23, 2009

PARIS — Fashion still believes strongly in the power of two, with more collaborations than ever in the works.

Next season alone includes everything from the launch of Yohji Yamamoto shoes by Salvatore Ferragamo to Ruby helmets by Karl Lagerfeld to J Brand jeans by Hussein Chalayan. Then there’s the most surprising collaboration of them all: Jil Sander joining Uniqlo as design consultant for all the fast-fashion retailer’s women’s and men’s apparel collections, launching for fall.

In fact, industry observers expect the economic downturn to spur even more pairings — to the advantage of both brands and consumers.

While collaborations require investment, the news value delivers a return above and beyond, said Graham Hales, executive director at London-based brand consultancy Interbrand. “It’s cheaper than many other things you have to do to draw people into your store,” he said.

“We’re definitely going to see a lot more of these high-low marriages,” said Valerie Steele, director and chief curator of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. “People are going to want to a lot of fashion for their buck.”

New collaborations for fall include Comme des Garçons with the shoe brands Tretorn and Converse, a bag line by Rick Owens for Eastpak, a sunglass line for Mykita by Bernhard Willhelm; a Y’s women’s collaboration with Dr. Martens, as well as a limited edition makeup and cosmetics accessories line for Shu Uemura by Tsumori Chisato.

Also, Baccarat has produced a limited edition line of couture bottles for Evian, designed by Jean Paul Gaultier, to be presented later this month at Colette and then Baccarat before being auctioned April 7 for charity. Zara recently teamed with MTV for a new range of urban-inspired men’s T-shirts and hoodies for spring, labeled Streetmuse by MTV. Sources said MTV could be eyeing other collaborations with fashion brands.

And Jade Jagger, who presented her new diffusion range of clothing and jewelry, dubbed Queen of Teens, here earlier this month, said her next collection will be “all about collaborations….You can expect some from the likes of Estelle and Mark Ronson.”

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