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Catwalk brights bode well for premium chains

Premium high street retailers are confident that the bright colours, statement outerwear, trouser shapes and long-length silhouettes will translate to strong sales this autumn, as the international catwalks drew to a close in Paris this week.

Clive Reeve, head of design at Arcadia-owned womenswear chain Wallis, said: “I think the trouser thing is going to be really strong. There’s a continuation of the midi-length skirt and boots, which is a really good story for autumn 11.” Reeve said the 1940s trend, seen at Marc Jacobs with wide, mannish trousers and nipped-in belted waists, would be more commercial for young fashion retailers than those targeting older women. “The dresses could be good, but we have to tread carefully,” said Reeve.

Other high street retailers backed outerwear to be strong for autumn 11, particularly trench coats and in bright colours.

Colour was generally well-received by some. Andy Rogers, brand director at premium chain Reiss, said: “The colours that are around again are great. There is plenty to translate for next season.” He added that the Céline and Dries Van Noten shows stood out and the trend for quality fabrics would help retailers deal with inflation next season.

Reeve said the 1960s-style coats showcased in vivid checked fabric on Burberry’s catwalk would transfer well to the high street, despite suggestions consumers could hold back on investing in such brightly coloured pieces.

However, Peter Ruis, buying director for fashion at department store chain John Lewis, said he would be careful when choosing which colours to back. “I would rather be into electric blue than orange,” he said.

He added that the customer now felt comfortable wearing colour all year round.

Ruis said the drop in hemlines could work well for consumers as longer lengths are easier to wear.

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