Byline: Michael McNamara

NEW YORK--Plans are in the works to expand the joint fabric presentations of Texitalia and Jardins d'Elegance this fall.
Texitalia, which features Italian mills, and Jardins, which showcases the French, may be joined by Spanish and Portuguese exhibitors at their November stand, according to show officials.
But fabrics strictly from Italy and France will be in the spotlight next week when the two shows unveil offerings for spring-summer 1996 at the Hotel Inter-Continental.
The three-day show opens April 19. Forty-one mills, including 16 shirting manufacturers, will be on hand, and four French firms are signed on. Gaspare Asaro, deputy trade commissioner of the Italian Trade Commission, an organizer of Texitalia, said it has yet to be decided how to organize the Spanish and Portuguese exhibitors.
"They'll be sending a delegation to visit, and, hopefully, they will be joining us for the next show," he said.
The ITC said more than 5,000 invitations have been sent to U.S. apparel firms, and more than 1,000 are expected to turn up, roughly the same number the two shows pulled in for the last edition in October.
Other Texitalia organizers are the Italian Federation of the Apparel and Textile Industry, known as SITEX, and the Association of Cotton and Linen Manufacturers.
Jardins d'Elegance is sponsored by the French Trade Office and Centre Textile de Lyon Region.
Asaro said that despite rising raw materials costs, U.S. firms should find value in the Italian fabrics, based on the weakness of the lira against the dollar.
This "has permitted some companies to lower the costs of value-added products," Asaro said. He noted that exports to the U.S. of textiles, apparel, leather goods and shoes increased 19.2 percent in 1994 to $2.94 billion from $2.47 billion a year earlier.
However, he conceded that the increased cost of raw materials have affected Italian firms.
Richard Hunte, president of Richard Hunte Associates, which represents five Italian mills and will exhibit at Texitalia, said, "We are experiencing somewhat flat market conditions.
"We're going to have to find more and more ingenious ways to weave fabrics and make it enticing without increasing price too much," Hunte said. "Many retailers have unrealistic expectations. They want more value, but they aren't willing to pay for it."
Texitalia is not a big show for writing orders, Hunte added, "but for us, we show to maintain a presence in the market." He said, "We are encouraged that the show keeps getting better and stronger every year."
E. Boselli & Co. SpA, Como, represented by its U.S. subsidiary, E. Boselli & Co., New York, is exhibiting at Texitalia for the first time. Boselli will show its new fabrics made from 100 percent polyester microfibers, dubbed Lanbos. The collection includes women's wear, lingerie and rainwear fabrics.
"We, too, are feeling price increases," said Thanos Kamiliotis, president of Boselli. "But for the most part, if you are going to pay $10 a yard for better fabrics, you'll pay $10.50 or $11."
Virginie Satre, a consultant to Jardins d'Elegance, said the spring edition isn't nearly as important as the fall showcase for French mills, whose fabrics are more geared to the fall season.
"We're going to have 25 companies showing in November, as opposed to 22 last time," Satre said. Still, it is important for the French to stage a show now, she said, "just so we will have a consistent presence."
Satre noted that France's exports of textiles to the U.S.--excluding nonwoven goods, increased 15 percent in 1994, to $334.3 million (1.6 billion francs) at current exchange.
"That's a sign that the U.S. customer is interested in the French styling," she said.
Asaro said Texitalia could expand to include 60 Italian firms, "provided we don't lose the intimacy we currently have. We need to have the show stay with this look and idea."
As for permitting U.S. firms to exhibit at Texitalia, Asaro said, "We haven't had any requests. But if there is a special case, such as a joint venture, I don't see why not.
"It doesn't make sense to discriminate on the basis of country. It makes sense to discriminate on the basis of quality."

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