NEW YORK —If 2002 was a year for conclusions,then 2003 will be a time for new beginnings. The past year witnessed the retirement of couturier Yves Saint Laurent and the deaths of American design legends Bill Blass and Pauline Trigère,while on the business front,Calvin Klein Inc.and Ellen Tracy were both finally sold to big sportswear houses after years of negotiations.

Few people are expecting 2003 to mark a dramatic turnaround for the financially troubled fashion industry, especially if the U.S.goes to war against Iraq,but there are still some opportunities in store for America ’s big megabrands,as well as for up-and-coming design houses,to lay the groundwork for future growth. Here ’s a look at what could be some of the top stories of 2003,starting a series of reports examining what WWD anticipates will become the major talking points of each market.

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