The outlook for Spring 2008 is bright, as far as color is concerned. But with the dollar plummeting against the euro ($6 for a cafe cremè in Saint Germain, folks) and the U.S. stock market as shaky as a Prada ceramic heel, designers in Milan and Paris this week and last seem to be counting on some kind of salvation both creative and commercial from points East. At MaxMara's show on Thursday, the house's designers took China and Japan as inspiration, showing a collection that opened with a denim Mao jacket and featured wrapped looks clearly inspired by Japanese fashion stars like Comme des Garçons' Rei Kawakubo or Yohji Yamamoto. Milanese newcomers like 6267 and Graeme Black also took their cues from the East, using traditional Japanese dress features like Obi sashes and crafts like basket-weaving to inspire coats, dresses and even micro-pleating details. Off the runways, China continues to be subject of much discussion as one of three major emerging markets for luxury goods. And executives at the companies that churn out $2,000 handbags seem to be betting on China to save them when and if in an uncertain economy. Michael Burke, the CEO of Fendi, has spent the last year preparing for a long-awaited Fendi show on China's Great Wall. Both Karl Lagerfeld and Fendi owner, Bernard Arnault, will fly in for the event at the end of the month. The show, which will reportedly include 100 looks, will actually take place on the Wall and with much of the Wall as a backdrop. "The most amazing thing about this is not only that it's the first time that this will ever be done," said Burke, jokingly. "But that it will be the last time, considering how logistically difficult it is to pull off an event like this."
Looking ahead to Paris shows this week, it seems this Eastern influence might continue. Fashion insiders arriving here on Saturday made a beeline for the city's hottest shopping destination: Comme des Garçons' hidden boutique in a courtyard off the Faubourg St-Honorè.
Next Paris's Bicycle Days