NEW YORK--A subtle mood will prevail in colors and fabrics for fall-winter 2003-2004, predicted Cotton Incorporated's latest Apparel Color and Trend Forecast."In spite of recent events in the world, the color mood remains positive and inspirational with a lightness of spirit and a quieter palette," said Suzanne Shapiro, senior director of fashion marketing. "There is a concentration on neutrals, moving from the cool tones of last season into warmer hues. Gray is important again, as is black."The five color groups were: Lost Tribes, Temples of Fashion, America Beautiful, Wintery Extreme and Tranquil Haven.The Lost Tribes palette took its inspiration from the rich cultural traditions of the hill tribes of Burma. Burnished and saturated golds and ruby reds, inky blues and blackened grays were the basis of this trend. "Think golden Buddha statues, deeply colored monk robes and weathered temples of the East," said Shapiro.Temples of Fashion merged East and West in an opulent mix of ancient Asia and Paris in the Forties. In this group Art Deco furniture and lacquered surfaces contrasted ethnic traditions with modernism, while still reflecting a gentle sense of elegance and refinement, she added, saying, "Soft gold, muted spearmint green, deep red velvet and delicate petal pink give this palette an easy sophistication."America Beautiful featured a mid-tone palette of red, white and blue. Blues dominated this group in deep indigo, turquoise and teal. "These colors are contrasted with the powerful brown earth tones of mountain ranges like the Rockies," said Shapiro.Wintery Extreme shied away from the usual cold-weather colors with bursts of strong, lively, fresh and intense hues that included seaweed green, chartreuse, bubblegum pink and lacquer red.Asian fishing villages were the inspiration for Tranquil Haven. "These warm greens and neutral tones have a meditative Zen quality to them," Shapiro added. The palette includes bright green, rich brown, gray and silver.In fabrics, she predicted surface finishes that add dimension and depth are going to be key for the season."Texture remains extremely important in denim, knits, corduroy and weaves," she said. "Prints enter new territory with digitally altered photographs and patterns which bring a whole new element to this category."She offered five fabric trends: Smart, Tailored, The World Shrinks, Stretch and Top Distinction.Urban looks such as corduroy and denim were featured in the Smart trend. "Cords feature bi-color looks, small-scale patterns, broken twill and chevron designs and velvety textures," said Shapiro. In this group, denim is washed down, overdyed, flocked, needle punched and polyurethane coated. "Also, look for the comeback of black denim," she added.The men's wear-inspired Tailored group featured dobbies, moleskins, herringbones, tweeds, sateens, ottomans and sophisticated twills. "Business looks and uniforms with a masculine feel is the influence here," said Shapiro.The World Shrinks featured ethnically inspired printed fabrics. It included images ranging from antique Japanese kimono patterns to digital photographs of fruits. Other inspirations came from American rock 'n' roll and patriotic prints, op-art, floral jacquards and butterfly wings.The stretch group included knits and had a youthful and athletic feel. Chunky and reversible knits, textured stripes, velours and French terries made the category fun, yet functional, Shapiro noted. "Also look out for cotton luxury fabrics in heathered fleece, cotton fur textures, flocking and tweedy knits that add substance and depth to these fabrics," she added.The final trend, Top Distinction, was geared toward outerwear and shirting. Reversible weaves, shadow stripes, slubbed and marled yarns, oxford cloths and sueded surfaces gave a rugged yet refined look to this group of fabrics, according to Shapiro. Also important, she added, were special finishes for outerwear such as Teflon, wax and oily and tight constructions for waterproofing."

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