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Swiss flag becomes fashion statement

Swiss kitsch is stealing the show on the fashion catwalks.

(Moschino)

For years it was viewed as kitsch. Now it's the height of fashion. Sweaters sporting the Swiss flag or pastoral alpine scenes are all the rage this season at the Italian fashion designers, Moschino. And customers are snapping them up.

"It's been fabulous, it's been really well received," said Moschino's store manager in London, Valeria Chianale.

"It's been popular with all types," she told swissinfo. "We have clients from all over the world and from all religions. We've also sold it to all age groups."

One of the most striking designs on Moschino's sweaters and skirts is simply a copy of the Swiss flag: a large white cross on a red background. There are also traditional mountain scenes with chalets, cows and alpine flowers.

One white T-shirt has the slogan "Heidi 4 President" emblazoned on the front in red letters.

"Our team of designers used the Swiss flag really for the beauty of the design and the wonderful contrast between the two colours," said Hélène Cadario, head of marketing at Moschino. "It is probably one of the most beautiful flags in the world."

Chianale believes the success of the design lies in its humour.

"I think the whole collection is extremely witty. And it's fun seeing people that you'd never imagine running around with Swiss flags on the front of them."

"One of our clients even said she'd wear the flag on the front, on the sweater, and turn the skirt around to have the flag on the back, too. I think everybody has a great love for Switzerland, and we were able to get that across in a wonderfully humorous way."

Tyler Brulé, editor of the design magazine, Wallpaper, says the attraction of Moschino's designs goes beyond their appearance.

"There's something ironic about it too: that the values Switzerland's represents - neutrality, security, openness - can be sewed onto the front of a pullover."

In Switzerland, the Swatch group has also discovered the attraction of the flag design. In its latest campaign, the company, which revolutionised watch making in the 1980s, is promoting a new design based on a streamlined version of the flag.

But experts think the trend is likely to be short-lived, not least because most trends are in a rapidly changing world.

By Malcolm Shearmur

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