Increased orders from couture customers such as Hugo Boss, which is part of the Marzotto group, and from Valentino have helped to boost business for Italian fabric producer Marzotto.

According to its last published report and accounts the company enjoyed a 1.4 per cent increase in earnings last year.

Although best known as a men's wear label it has been the Hugo Boss women's wear division which has been producing some of the most impressive figures recently, with current sales now estimated to be in excess of 50 million euros.

A spokesperson for the group says figures achieved in the first two months of 2004 suggest that the division's forward progress is expected to continue throughout the present year.

By Sonia Roberts.