Flood of Viewers Jams Lingerie Webcast

The first Internet broadcast of Victoria's Secret's Spring Fashion Show turned out to be a bust for some people after millions of fans jammed the site, causing major technical problems.

Many Web surfers who hoped to catch a glimpse of supermodels strutting around in racy lingerie were instead greeted with jagged video and audio problems.

The much-hyped fashion show was held in New York on Wednesday and marked a milestone for the Internet. It was one of the first large-scale live video events in which a corporation invested money and prestige.

A television ad for the 14-minute event was shown during Sunday's Super Bowl, and other ads were placed in newspapers.

The show was Webcast using streaming video technology. Streaming video allows Web surfers to view live video without downloading large files. The quality of the video depends on the number of people watching, how powerful the computers are and how congested Net traffic is.

Before the show, Anne Marie Blaire, senior manager of Internet brand development for Victoria's Secret, said the computers--run by Broadcast.com--were configured to handle between 250,000 and 500,000 simultaneous viewers. The company said Thursday that 1.5 million viewed the Web site during the show.

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Am I Blue: A clear, watercolor blue is emerging as a public favorite for fashion and consumer goods this year, according to the Color Marketing Group.

The group, made up of professional color designers, predicts that consumers will demand brighter, simpler products that reflect nature. One of the reasons, it says, is that an improved economy usually drives a brighter color palette.

Other reasons cited: There is a perception that consumers want to return to a simpler way of life; water's color and texture have a calming effect; Asian, Moroccan and Turkish ethnic influences are increasing; nature and gardening interests fuel desire for spice and earthy colors; and special effects, textures and patterns can enhance and individualize colors.

"Right now, there is a strong Asian influence seen in the color palette, which is demonstrated by the influence of water and nature," says Deb Baker of Butler / Newco in Dallas and co-chairman of the group that forecasts color preferences to guide fashion and consumer goods industries. "At the same time, the strong economy of the U.S. has brightened the color palette. Weak economies tend to darken color palettes."

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So Long, Suits: The suit-and-tie uniform as required business dress for corporate America may be on its last pinstriped legs, according to Management Recruiters International Inc., a search and recruitment firm.

The reason, the company says, is the popularity of dress-down Friday, which has spread to other days of the week, year-round. Of more than 3,700 hiring executives queried in a company survey, 42.1% agreed that the suit and tie will ultimately disappear, and of that group, 87.1% believe it will happen within 10 years.

"I laugh thinking that the suit and tie emerged as part of dress-down Friday in the era of powdered wigs, breeches and silk hose," says Allen Salikof, president and chief executive of Management Recruiters. Casual dress policy has become more pervasive in recent years, he adds.

Industries such as information technology, fashion and entertainment have already abandoned the suit and tie for the most part.

--COMPILED FROM ASSOCIATED PRESS

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