Designers Climb On The Virtual Catwalk

The Net makes fashion as accessible in Peoria as in Paris

At first, Yves Saint Laurent didn't want anything to do with the Internet. The French designer feared that putting his extravagantly detailed, hand-sewn collections online would degrade his elite image and permit counterfeiters to spy on next year's styles. But now Saint Laurent realizes there's more opportunity than danger on the Web. Like his decision to make off-the-rack clothes in the 1960s, the Net will let him reach far more people. "I was the first French designer to open a pret-a-porter boutique," says Saint Laurent. "The Internet allows me to make my creations accessible to everyone." He has launched his own site, begun broadcasting his couture shows live on the Net, and is considering selling accessories online.

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