COLOR STARS AT MILLIKEN WORKSHOP

Byline: Karyn Monget

NEW YORK--The resurgence of color, a hot topic in ready-to-wear circles, should brighten the innerwear scene as well this year.
That was the word from June Roche, fashion director of Milliken & Co., in her annual trend workshop covering intimate apparel and swimwear.
Entitled "The Streets and Runways of Europe," the presentation defined the trends with slides of rtw looks and a show of items purchased by Roche in specialty stores and flea markets in Paris, Milan and London.
In addition to color, Roche underscored these directions for innerwear:
* Retro treatments for shapewear.
* A designer approach to coordinated bras and panties.
* An abundance of shine and texture.
Singling out color as a major influence, Roche, holding a chart of directional shades, said: "I was very surprised. A lot of the smoky grays, navys, browns and eggplants that were so strong last year were tired looking and have given way to clean brights and iced pales."
The brights--in both solids and Pucci-inspired prints of oversized florals and graphics of the Seventies--included orange, green and yellow. The "paler than pastel tints" included banana yellow, mint and pink.
Roche singled out the key colors in intimate apparel merchandised at specialty and department stores in three cities as red in Paris, pink in Milan and burgundy in London.
Regarding shapers, Roche said retro styling was "very strong," especially in various shades of peach.
"Satins, jacquard looks and lots of vintage hardware looks--such as zippers, hooks-and-eyes and V-shaped elastic wedge insets--were very important," she continued. "I also think that the growing importance of shine, texture and interesting laces are making coordinated bra and panty sets a major trend."
Roche pointed to two upscale labels as directional in these areas. One was Chantal Thomass, the rtw designer, whose shapers had old-fashioned corsetry treatments. The other was Malitzia, a bridge line of foundations by La Perla, an Italian maker of luxury innerwear.
"I saw matching bras and panties by Malitzia in shiny rib treatments with zigzag stitching at practically every store I visited," said Roche.
She further noted that private label bras and panties in blends of Tactel nylon and Lycra spandex--and a variety of microfiber blends--were prominent at Marks & Spencer.
In Milan, she reported, the Dolce & Gabbana rtw boutique featured "lots of highly styled slips and bras and panties" bearing the D&G label.
"There's a tremendous amount of fashion in intimate apparel out there, and I believe it's coming from the ready-to-wear market--everything had such a designed quality to it," said Roche.

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