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Big trend hopes are pinned on London

Jessica Brown

Opening this week’s issue of Grazia, its Big Fashion Special, on Tuesday, the scale of the challenge retailers are facing this spring was clear.

Opening this week’s issue of Grazia, its Big Fashion Special, on Tuesday, the scale of the challenge retailers are facing this spring was clear.

First up, Grazia championed the “new sexy”, with “Prim is in” one of its 10 Hot Stories, flagging that covered-up was the new body-con and showcasing a range of frankly hideous frocks in an insipid palette.

Along with Stylist - probably the consumer magazine with the biggest influence on shopper spending right now - Grazia also explored the colour blocking and ballet trends while championing flares and wide-legged trousers. Even minimalism will only do it for a pretty small bunch of shoppers.

No matter what the catwalks dictate, pussybow necklines, long sleeves, high waists, tangerine orange and Dairy Milk satin just aren’t commercial, even if they do have a 1970s twist.

And this is a fundamental problem for the high street right now(Click here for Jeff Banks on p6 for more).

Consumers are already cautious, saving cash until the public sector cuts play out, and remain wary of being shafted by the VAT rise and headlines around inflation. February sales have been in negative territory for many retailers since the bulk of the post-Christmas discounting ended and, to be blunt, our designers have failed in their mission to create an essential fashion purchase this season.

That’s not to say this season is a write-off. There is still time for a repeat of the WAG-induced spring 10 maxi dress moment providing retailers have enough open-to-buy budget.

As Drapers went to press, there hadn’t been much in the way of standout collections at New York Fashion Week, while the tobacco shades that dominated the autumn 11 Copenhagen shows aren’t for everyone either. London Fashion Week opens today. What we need now, please London, is a look and an item to carry us through to Christmas.

Jessica Brown Editor

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