NEW YORK — Romance was in the air at last week’s print shows — Directions and Printsource, both held at the Hotel Pennsylvania — with an array of Twenties-, Thirties- and Fifties-style floral prints, many on floaty chiffon. Exhibitors noted that the feminine, ladylike look prevalent on the spring runways will continue on through spring 2005.

Sarah Gordon, co-owner of Milkprint, showed prints with a flirty Thirties feel that had plenty of soft and feminine florals. At Keelergordon, intensely colored tropicals were shown on wispy chiffon. Chris Stowers, a designer at Westcott, cautioned, however, that the look should not be “too precious.” His selection included blurred florals in bright tones.

Another major direction, inspired by Prada’s spring collection, was conversationals — more specifically, scenic conversationals. “It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen the trend in women’s,” said Adam Read, owner of The Colorfield, who showed a brightly colored scenic. For Lisa James, creative director at The Works, the conversationals this time around were “more sketchbook style; they’re looser in feel and feature watercolor effects.” At Marilyn Kern, the conversationals were mixed with geometrics, a trend that’s still on the horizon. Tom Cody, meanwhile, rendered its scenic prints on top of tie-dye, which allowed for a layering of different textures.

Either way, it was hard to miss all the color. Abstract tropicals at Vredenburgh Fuller were given a shot of acidy yellow and bright blue, while at Spoogi, a muted, sophisticated palette was seen on a variety of textural abstract designs, many featuring watermark details. Here, some of the best looks from the two shows.

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