ROBES, LOUNGEWEAR: A SPORTSWEAR MOOD

NEW YORK--In robes and loungewear, top ideas taking shape for the November market are sportswear-inspired items such as two-piece pants sets, long tunics, crop tops, big shirts paired with boxers and swingy little dresses.
Vendors say any fabric that has a textured look--including crinkles, piqués, rib patterns and basketweave and waffle-weave treatments--will be important. Also strong will be fabrics that have a sportswear flavor, such as blends of linen and cotton, flax and cotton, polyester and rayon, and stretch terry of polyester and cotton.
Judy Lewis, president of Periphery Inc., projected a 10 percent increase in bookings over a year ago. She based the gain on the good response to a younger, more contemporary-looking line of dual-purpose loungewear that's being designed by Leigh Karmitz. Karmitz, who rejoined the firm in September, as noted, is designing the Periphery by Leigh Karmitz line.
"Texture is a big thing for this market," said Lewis, noting that blends of cotton and flax and linen and cotton will be important.
"Leigh also is addressing that younger customer with updated, ready-to-wear silhouettes," she said. Lewis singled out an ethnic-inspired group of Moroccan-styled caftans, crop tops and wide-leg pants, and tunics and hooded anoraks as top ideas.
Stan Herman, designer of Stan Herman robes and loungewear at Crowntuft Manufacturing, said, "We'll be showing a lot of pre-fall looks for the first time in November." The preview will feature "a lot more loungewear," he said.
"So many stores want customized looks. If you work early enough, you can customize with them," said Herman.
For late spring, Herman said he would show an expanded line of leisure dresses of cotton gauze that are not "gussied up."
"There's been a lot of interest in simple, shaped gauze dresses," he said, noting that the dresses will come in 39-inch and 48-inch lengths. Colors will be solid black, brights and neutrals.
Amy South, merchandiser of the licensed Michael Kors At-Homewear at Boutique Industries, noted that an "eclectic mix" of fabrics and textures will be offered in three groups for Mother's Day: a soft, watercolor floral-print group of polyester double georgette; a woven cotton eyelet group that's banded in galloon trim, and an activewear-inspired group in striped matte-and-shine stretch terry of polyester and cotton.

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