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Accessories lead way as market slows down

By Dario Thuburn in Milan | China Daily/Agencies | Updated: 2014-03-16 11:00

With sales in the global luxury sector starting to slow, Italian shoes and handbags stand out as powerful growth engines as the middle classes in emerging economies indulge the urge to accessorize.

Companies like Casadei and Furla, which showed off their latest collections at Milan Fashion Week alongside the catwalk shows, are reaping the benefits.

"Our turnover grew by 7 percent last year," family-owned Furla's chief executive Eraldo Poletto tells AFP in an interview in his Milan showroom, showing off a line of pastel-colored bags inspired by Japanese flower prints.

Poletto says the best-performing markets for Furla were Asia as a whole and tourist centers in Europe - part of what he called a "Silk Road" of well-heeled shoppers that connects Dubai and Moscow, Singapore and New York.

"This is kind of our moment," the executive says at a crowded presentation where international buyers in town for fashion week browsed the wallets, clutch bags and satchels - with fur trimmings, pastel colors or animal prints.

Cesare Casadei, chairman of his family-owned shoe label, says the company was planning to open two mono-brand stores in Beijing and Shanghai and looking to expand in the Middle East after opening stores in Dubai and Riyadh.

"These are markets in major upheaval, major expansion," he says, showing off a collection that ranged from sandals with ornate patterns and gold trimmings to the company's signature "Blade" pumps with impossibly high heels.

"Eighty percent of our production is exported and we want to widen our global distribution," says Casadei, who grew up next to the shoe factory set up by his parents in 1958 near the seaside town of Rimini in northeastern Italy.

Accessories lead way as market slows down

Accessories lead way as market slows down

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