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Luxury fashion world tweaking its style for Gen Y

February 14, 2012 • Entertainment


The Marc Jacobs Fall 2012 collection is modeled during Fashion Week, Monday, Feb. 13, 2012, in New York. (AP Photo/Louis Lanzano)

NEW YORK (AP) — Luxury fashion still caters to movie stars, high-powered businesswomen and ladies who lunch, but designers are starting to show interest in that generation’s daughters.

Halfway through New York Fashion Week, familiar runway themes like military tailoring, old-school rock ‘n’ roll, and Hollywood Golden Age glam are showing tweaks designed to appeal to younger eyes: the double-breasted coat in shiny patent leather, tweed suits infused with metallics and leather substituted in silhouettes that used to be silk.

“New customers are getting into luxury fashion in a way they weren’t before the recession,” said Ed Jay, senior vice president of American Express Business Insights.

Longtime clients who bought full-ticket designer clothes before the economy soured have proven loyal, but they aren’t buying as much as they used to, Jay said. But the luxury market is seeing new interest among Gen Y fashionistas, who didn’t used to buy much high-end but are now starting to, spurred in part by the ease of online purchases. “Newcomers don’t spend as much per ticket, but there are more of them,” he said.

The Row, the collection designed by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, which previewed Monday, seemed to speak directly to women (especially the younger set) who live the sort of uptown life that requires clothes for special occasions, but who aren’t interested in traditional suits or eveningwear. Think cozy chenille jackets or cashmere tops with an underlayer of sheer chiffon, or paired with a full-length skirt.

Ken Downing, fashion director of Neiman Marcus, said that even the fur turning up on a lot of runways could motivate younger shoppers. “We are seeing a lot of mink, a lot of textural mink. You thought of mink before as your grandmother’s but this is through a new lens. … Mink is something a lot of women don’t have.”

Some of the fur being shown is faux, but whether younger shoppers — especially given the mainstreaming of veganism and animal rights — will buy real fur-accented pieces as a new Login to read more

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