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Micam Autumn 09

The Milan footwear show served up a range of commercial and offbeat styles to service a variety of buyers’ needs

Italian footwear fair Micam began last week with a steady stream of visitors, but to exhibitors’ disappointment numbers dropped off just as quickly as they had arrived. Although official figures were yet to be released as Drapers went to press, anecdotally attendance seemed down on previous years.

The overlap with contemporary and young fashion footwear trade show Première Classe in Paris meant buyers spent less time at the Italian fair. Those who did make the trip rushed to complete appointments as the usual three-day visit was scaled back to save costs. A mood of uncertainty overshadowed the event for many UK brands. Hot topics were the sale of Shoe Studio Group to Dune owner Daniel Rubin, the administration of middle-market retailer Barratts and value chain Priceless and their subsequent buy-back, and the effect the recession was having on the UK footwear landscape.

Despite nervousness over how the deals would affect business, brands ploughed on. Richard Kottler, chief executive of trade body the British Footwear Association, said: “By and large, the 80-strong British contingent had a good show, exceeding expectations, which admittedly had been set at a realistic level.” In general, the brands at Micam backedcommercial and predictable looks. Fringing continued as a relevant theme, with neworigami and panelled looks reflecting women’s fashion trends. It was uplifting to see a glut of young brands on show, proving that despite setbacks the market continues to evolve.

Footwear entrepreneur Lynsey Hand exhibited the Shellys brand for the second season, and said: “The way I see it, we’ve got a nice base of steady customers and as long as we can keep that ticking over, when the market picks up again - which it will - we’ll be ready.”

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