PARIS Jan 25 Dior scrapped the champagne and
laid on the glitter at its menswear show in Paris on Sunday,
trying to seduce reluctant buyers with casual suits, adventurous
cuts and sparkly detail.
Christian Dior's (LVMH.PA) (DIOR.PA) Chief Executive Sidney
Toledano sounded a cautiously upbeat note, saying the fashion
house did not plan to cut any jobs despite the global downturn.
"It's a positive mood. We are saying in these times, it is
important to dress as elegantly as possible," he told Reuters
backstage after the show, surrounded by models and stylists.
Belgian designer Kris Van Assche displayed wit and
craftsmanship with pin-striped hooded tops, sparkling
embellishments on suits and jumpers, and a shirt that was
buttoned up at the back, revealing a coquettish triangle of bare
"It's about showing the cut, the material, things that are
as pure as possible," Toledano said. "And you also have to make
people dream, because it's a show."
But Dior's optimistic effort only partly masked the somewhat
sombre atmosphere at this year's autumn/winter collections.
Luxury executives used to describe their sector as fairly
recession-proof, saying the super-rich would always shop, but
plummeting stock markets and teetering banks have hurt even the
At the same time, the downturn has cut deep into a broad
base of aspirational fashion fans -- mostly young, female
professionals buying the shoes and handbags worn by their
Fashion show regulars noted that Dior and other houses have
cut back on the glamorous venues and extravagant festivities
that used to be a staple of Paris fashion week.
"I think they've generally hired fewer models, and there are
fewer parties," said Yannick Maentele, a 19-year-old German
model relaxing backstage after the Dior show.
"For example, there's no champagne here right now, that's a
contrast to last year. But then again, it used to be so
decadent, so maybe this is not a bad thing."
(Editing by Jon Boyle)