FRENCH, ITALIAN COMBO GROWS FOR TEXITALIA

Byline: Michael McNamara

NEW YORK--An increase in the number of French fabric suppliers will make next week's Texitalia and Jardins d'Elegance, the combined showcases of scale European apparel fabrics, the biggest ever.
A French-sponsored group of 29 fabric, trimmings and accessories suppliers will join the 34 Italian companies that are slated to show their fall 1995 offerings during the three-day show, which opens next Tuesday, Nov. 8, at the Hotel Inter-Continental here.
This will be the third time the two countries have linked up to present fabrics. The previous shows--in October 1993 and last April--spotlighted 34 Italian firms and 12 French companies.
The sponsors of both shows have invited about 8,000 buyers, and they expect between 1,000 and 1,300 to attend.
"Based on the interest shown at the first joint showing, several of the French companies have seen that the U.S. market is a very viable one," said Virgine Satre, a consultant for Centre Textile de Lyon, which sponsors Jardins d'Elegance.
"We think that the fabrics from the French companies attract many of the same types of buyers as the Italian suppliers do," Satre added. "A lot of mills are targeting medium customers, and the U.S. is a big market for that."
Satre said the French exhibition, which traditionally highlights silk, cotton and lace fabrics, will also include two new wool suppliers--Tissage Des Chaumes and Wurmser--and several suppliers of accessories and trimmings.
Other French fabric companies making their initial showing at Jardins are Fabien Doligez and Reynaud Rexo. Showing also for the first time is the Swiss firm Abraham, which has a large Paris office, is known for its designer fabrics and has the distinction of being the only non-French company to show with the French group.
The Italian textile firms--which includes a consortium of 16 shirting manufacturers--are banking on the weak lira as a source of generating business in the U.S.
"Raw material prices for fabrics are high, so that will mean this year's prices for fabrics will be higher," said Gaspare Asaro, deputy commissioner for the Italian Trade Commission, which, along with the Italian Federation of the Apparel and Textile Industry, known as SITEX, sponsors the show.
"We think that because of that positive situation with the lira, U.S. buyers can still get good, quality fabrics at a good price," he said, pointing to a rise in Italian exports to the U.S.
According to ITC statistics, exports of Italian fabrics and yarn to the U.S. are up 12.3 percent in the first six months to $278.07 million from $247.68 million.
As for French exports of fabric and yarn to the U.S., according to the French Trade Office, France exported $75 million to the U.S. in 1992, which is the latest available figure.
The show will also feature a breakfast presentation of fall 1995 trends slated for 8:30 a.m. next Tuesday in the hotel's Astor Room II.
Nelly Rodi, a consultant to Centre Textile de Lyon, and Angelo Uslenghi, an independent consultant to Texitalia, will show examples of key fall apparel fabric trends.
Created in November 1991 at the initiative of the Centre Textile de Lyon et Region, Jardins d'Elegance took place once a year during the fall at the Hotel Macklowe here until 1993. It then joined forces with Texitalia at the Waldorf-Astoria.
Texitalia, on the other hand, began in 1985 as a twice-yearly show, and through 1988 had been part of the now defunct New York Fabric Show. After that, it wasn't held until October 1992, when it was staged at the Waldorf-Astoria.
As reported, next week's show marks the first Texitalia/Jardins d'Elegance showing at the Inter-Continental.

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