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Autumn 09 mainstream womenswear

Autumn 09’s mainstream womenswear collections are defined by a vibrant mix of colour, print and design-led details.

Drapers pounded the streets of London to see 10 of the biggest mainstream womenswear collections for autumn 09. These brands have cherry picked what is commercially relevant to the UK, shedding the more European aspects of their collections to unveil a plethora of colourful item-led statement pieces. Colour, prints, checks, ruffles, knitwear and unstructured shapes are all featured, along with detailed necklines and embellishment. Purple is paramount to every collection, from leather biker jackets to knitwear tank tops, and red is trotted out in every shade from burgundy and cherry to bright fuscia, along with an assortment of cornflower blue. Silhouettes are soft, with feminine-inspired shapes, layering, texture and mixed fabrics all key, and while tailoring was present most styles were less structured than past seasons. Knitwear was strong in all collections, with longer length cardigans providing plenty of lighter alternatives to coats with our milder autumns in mind. Some Fair Isle patterns were in evidence at the more fashion-forward end .

Coats are also big news for autumn 09 with the cold weather inspiring buyers and brands to bulk up on outwear. Belts on coats and fake fur trimmed collars were out in force, alongside striking statement coats in vivid colours.

According to brand managers many retailers have been buying less, with smaller budgets, and spending more time analysing each collection. This has been reflected in the collections, as they are packed full of statement pieces which give an added wow factor. Even some traditional basics pieces were dramatic and striking, with neck detailing, embellishments, studding and mixed fabrics combining to help create texture. Brands have continued to create their own handwriting with prints with paisleys and tie-dye appearing alongside some leopard prints.

With the current economic climate, brands said they were doing all they can to support retailers, with most absorbing Euro-related price increases and taking a hit on margins, rather than passing it on.  Brands are offering added support for retailers, from marketing and merchandising to catwalk shows and training days. Most say retailers are being cautious with their budgets, and paying more attention to stock levels and cash flow. Ann Millson from Delmod said: “Plan your budget carefully and keep some money back for a sale buy. If you buy it from the brand at half price, you can sell it at half price and still make margins, rather than having to mark down.”

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