NEW YORK — Cotton Incorporated’s forecast for the fall 2004 season is based on a blend of realism and positiveness.

“Overall, the color palette for this season balances both these things in a blend of brights, darks and naturals for a cohesive look,” said Kathryn Novakovic, director of fashion marketing. “Dark and murky shades such as navies, grays, browns and faded blacks continue, punched up with brighter shades of red, purple and green, while softer neutrals provide the perfect backdrop for these stronger colors.”

The five color groups in the forecast were: Night Bright, Flea Market, Trail Mix, Enchanted Forest and White Out.

The colors for Night Bright, which Novakovic said would be suited for the activewear market, take their inspiration from the sea. Heavily influenced by greens, blues and browns, the palette includes Lime Light, Deepest Midnight and Silt Shimmer — a sandy shade suitable for sateen and velvet looks.

Flea Market included colors inspired by Seventies rock ’n’ roll, as well as patchwork. “The look is very mismatched here,” said Novakovic. The colors, including Butterscotch, Pool Table and Lava Orange, evoked lollipops, circuses and comic books.

The colors in the Trail Mix group were earthy and natural, dominated by greens and browns. “It’s inspired by the colors of natural grains and seeds with a surprising jolt of color from wildflowers,” she added. “It’s both clean and natural, a very basic approach to color.” The group included tones such as Poppy Seed, Chamomile, Lentil and Wild Flower.

For the Enchanted Forest, the palette was romantic and exotic, including hues called Kyoto Plum, Genie Green and Smoked Blue. “Think flying carpets, magic genies, golden palaces and opulent costumes,” she said. “The colors are perfect for sateen and chintz looks, as well as polished cottons.”

The first snow of winter was the inspiration for White Out. The soft palette included Winter Shadow, Glacier Blue and Lichen. “Here, the whites play together in heathered yarns and white-on-white prints,” she continued. “Great fabrics in this group would include soft cottons blended with angora, cashmere or wool.”In fabrics, said Novakovic, “surface interest enhances and enriches color while adding dimension and depth. Texture remains extremely important in denim, knits, corduroy and weaves. Prints are self-assured and feature clean graphics, bold stripes, Art Nouveau florals and influences from Pop Art and Impressionism.”

She named her five fabric trends On Track, Hipster How-To, Tip-Top Precision, Classic Construction and Print Personalities.

On Track reflected the athletic influence on knitwear, with fabrics that featured technological innovation, activewear design influences and comfort qualities. The group included double-sided fleece, denim influences on knitwear, indigo overdyes, bleaching effects, wax-look coatings and soft, plush knits inspired by the terry tracksuit craze. “The grouping is very technical,” Novakovic said. “An example is a antimicrobial cotton and nylon blend.”

Denim and corduroy were the focus of Hipster How-To. The group relied on surface-interest features, such as slubs, to create abstract lines and unevenness and used flocking to give a faux suede look. The group also featured bicolor cords with combinations of wide and thin wales.

Shirting fabrics were the focus of Tip-Top Precision. “The look is refined and distinctive and includes multiple textures and weaves,” said Novakovic. The group featured overdyes in hazy hues, two-tone pinstripes and flannels brushed on both sides, home-inspired jacquards, plaid and floral prints. Tip-Top also featured cotton and metal combinations that looked like linen and leather-like polyurethane coatings.

The theme of Classic Construction, created specifically for bottomweights, was compactly structured looks with lots of surface interest. The group used textured jacquards, felting techniques, double-faced fabrics, micro sanding effects and peach touch surfaces to add substance and depth to the fabrics. “It’s another example of bringing home looks into apparel with the tapestry jacquards,” said Novakovic.

The prints in Print Personalities included home-influenced printed velvets, Japanese-inspired bold and graphic looks, Mod and Art Deco prints from the Sixties and artistic looks that included craft-inspired geometrics.

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