Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Bikini Fashion hot

Buyers and fashion editors on the front on Sunday were already distilling the "must-have" items for shoppers, a process that is taking on a greater importance this season than in many.

With falling financial markets and weakening housing prices crimping consumer spending in U.S. and European countries, getting women there to buy clothes next fall is expected to be trickier than in many years.

Neiman Marcus' Ken Downing, senior vice president and fashion director for the influential upscale U.S. department store chain and a front row fixture, said the consumer was already "definitely spending less than she was."

"We're seeing a lot of dark, sombre colors but what the consumer wants in these times is something really special, so color is really important in that," Downing said, tipping collections from Marni, Prada, Burberry and Balenciaga as among the most sellable.

Glenda Bailey, editor of the U.S edition of Harper's Bazaar, advised that even for the cash-strapped the shows suggested "a beautiful soft ruffle shirt" would be the quickest way for women to update their look next season, or a "cardigan belted in."