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High-end enters the popularity contest

With the spring 09 catwalks over and done with, it’s time to sit back and digest what the world’s top designers have decided we will be wearing in six months’ time.

While many people scoff at the thought that a proliferation of longer hemlines might be a reflection of the economic downturn, there have been signs in the spring 09 ranges that designers are feeling the pressure of the credit crunch.

Take D&G, for example. The label that is usually associated with funky, fresh prints and youthful exuberance this season opted to create a nautical collection. Yes, nautical – the trend that no mainstream brand would dare omit from its range each season; the one that pretty much every woman out there owns at least one piece of; the one that is so regularly churned out it almost doesn’t merit a trend mention any more.

So D&G showed acres of navy and white stripes, splashed anchor motifs across its pieces, and had six-button sailor-style shorts and trousers aplenty. True, they were given a youthful edge with sequin embellishment, short hemlines and rosette appliqu鳬 but essentially D&G’s collection was based around a theme that is guaranteed to sell.
The bottom line is that designers can only carry on designing if people are buying their clothes. And the more commercial brands need to be producing pieces that will convince shoppers to part with their increasingly precious cash.

So to all those doubters out there who think the world of high-end fashion does not concern itself with the day-to-day money worries of you and I –just wait, you’ll be wearing a designer label’s stripey jersey top before you know it.

Laura Jackson is assistant fashion editor at Drapers

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