Milan Fashion Week Opens With Bold Visions

At Milan Fashion Week, Miuccia Prada employed giant projections of chandeliers to set the tone for a fashion locale situated somewhere “between reality and fantasy.” Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana created a Wild West extravaganza for their RTW spring collection. And A bold Bauhaus motif shaped a coherent, lively collection by Giorgio Armani. (Click to see complete party coverage, backstage beauty and Fashion Scoops.)

Spring Collections Please Buyers

American and European buyers — many of whom jetted in to mark London Fashion Week’s 25th anniversary — praised the results, pointing to designers’ craftsmanship and tailoring and singling out Burberry, Christopher Kane, Erdem, Antonio Berardi, Peter Pilotto and Mary Katrantzou as the week’s standouts. (Click to see all the London Fashion Week coverage.) Designers walked a fine line during New York Fashion Week — and buyers generally gave them a thumbs-up for hitting the mark in a commercial way, even though some criticized the lack of creativity. (Click to see all the New York Fashion Week coverage.)

Survey Finds Wealthy Less Keen on Luxe Category

According to a recent survey by the Luxury Institute, 48 percent of respondents said luxury products are too accessible and are no longer exclusive; 40 percent believed luxury brands are becoming a commodity, and 52 percent said luxury brands that also sell products for mass consumers are no longer luxury brands. Undaunted, Louis Vuitton tapped celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz and artist Damien Hirst to dream up some special-order leather goods. (Click to see all the images.)

Holiday Forecasts See Sales Down, Profits Up

A forecast from Retail Forward indicated a 2 percent drop in apparel and accessories sales for the fourth quarter, reflecting a continuation of the consumer retreat that pushed sales down more than 9 percent in the same period a year earlier. Overall retail sales, excluding auto, food and drug sales, are projected to come in flat after falling 4.5 percent a year earlier, teeing up the upcoming fourth quarter as the second worst in 42 years. With some sources forecasting holiday sales could decline by 4 to 12 percent — which would come on top of the 10 percent drop last December — beauty retailers said the key to Christmas this time around will be heavy promotion of gift-with-purchase sets, exclusives and the strength of recent launches. Meanwhile, fashion insiders themselves said they are more inclined to do without for now, and students are spending more on electronic gear as they cut back on apparel.

Geiger Stepping Down at Aéropostale

Julian Geiger, the only chief executive officer in the history of Aéropostale Inc. and the chief architect of the growth and success of the teen retailer, will step down from his post at the end of the company’s current fiscal year on Jan. 31. In an exclusive interview with WWD, Geiger said, “I have the mind of a 19-year-old in the body of a 64-year-old man.”

Price Hunt Pushes Sourcing Beyond China

China is still the easiest place for companies to source because it is so well-established, but it is no longer the most cost effective, an increasingly important element of sourcing decisions in the current economy, production specialists said. At the same time, Bangladesh’s position as one of the cheapest sourcing nations has shielded it from the worst and even allowed the country to pick up market share. At Texworld, Indian embroidery specialists were singled out for providing opulent, on-trend crystals and beadwork, while the strong Chinese contingent of mills impressed with the improved quality of its offerings.

Armani on Armani

Giorgio Armani is visibly healthier than the frail figure he cut in June, when he presented his spring men’s collection, a month after revealing he’d been diagnosed with hepatitis. In fact, he appears reenergized and back to his in-control self. In an exclusive interview with WWD, Armani is relaxed and at ease, his mood ranging from joking to philosophical about his life and business. (Click to read the review of his RTW spring collection, as well as Fashion Scoops and backstage beauty from the Milan runway show.

WWD List: Beyond the Bubbly

Unity Marketing has ranked spending on wines and spirits among consumers with household incomes $100,000 and higher. Findings show the biggest spending increases are for rum and vodka. “These are spirits that go into popular mixed drinks,” said Pam Danziger, president of the Stevens, Pa.-based research firm. “There is a lot of innovation in terms in flavoring that causes a lot of activity in these categories.” (Click to see the top 10 list.)

‘Making It Happen’ at New Yorkers for Children Gala

Like kids returning to classes, attendees at the Tenth Annual New Yorkers for Children Gala filed into Cipriani with all the accompanying first-day nerves. “Am I the only one in a gown?” fretted another as she watched a parade of short dresses pass by on the red carpet. She was not: Paulina Porizkova, Karolina Kurkova, Joy Bryant, Selita Ebanks and Maggie Rizer worked the room in long numbers as Amanda Brooks, Tory Burch, Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos, Brian Reyes, Yigal Azrouel, Christian Cota, Helen Schifter and Marisa Joel Brown caught up over cocktails. (Click to see all the images.)

WWD Back in Time: The 1929 Stock Market Crash

At the onset of the stock market crash in October 1929, the fashion industry’s number crunchers stayed positive, focusing on the light at the end of the tunnel. But they had no idea how long a tunnel it was. (Click to see all the images.)
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