By  on March 31, 1994

NEW YORK -- Soft, comfortable fibers and special detailing -- from reinforced toes and heels to decorative control tops -- are two major legwear trends for spring and summer 1995.

That was the message of a series of trend presentations sponsored here by DuPont Fibers for legwear manufacturers. The meetings, which began last week and ended Wednesday, were conducted by Norma Gosling, hosiery designer for DuPont U.K., who illustrated her talk with a number of samples from Europe.

"Paying more attention to detail is what will distinguish legwear for next spring, whether in the toe, the panty or the seaming," she said. Gosling also pointed to several DuPont fibers and constructions as ways "to update the 10-to-15-denier sheers business, which has been lagging." These included "Lycra-in-every-course," a construction knitting Lycra spandex into every stitch of hosiery; Tactel nylon microfiber, and bicomponent nylon 18-8 -- all offering a soft hand.

From the European market, Gosling showed examples of several products with a special twist, whether in construction, detailing or packaging.

One style by the German legwear manufacturer Falke, for example, featured a sheer pantyhose with a cotton panty that may be detached from the nylon legs once they tear or run.

Wolford products using Avantige nylon were shown, with Gosling emphasizing their soft feel. The new Joop line of hosiery was displayed because of its packaging, which features descriptive photographs of the product inside, and detailing, such as the Joop name embroidered on the leg.

Gosling divided the upcoming legwear trends into three groups: classic, essential and directional.

The classic group ties in with layered, romantic dressing, using transitional looks, going from winter to spring. The palette features "antique neutrals" such as muted beiges, gray and deep blue, Gosling said, and texture and luster are important. Turning to details, she cited the importance of graduated control tops with patterning on the panty and lingerie-style cut-and-sewn panties, perhaps in jacquard lace, on sheer styles.

The essential group takes the nude leg for spring, featured this season, a step further in an expanded palette of warm cosmetic colors in paler tones. Soft, matte hosiery in flat knits, vintage laces and crochet in a variety of silhouettes -- thigh-highs, knee-highs and stockings -- will be key looks, she said. In this group, too, small details such as opaque heels and toes on textured styles and lace bands on stockings and thigh-highs give a specialized look to basic items.In the directional group, "street-wise and sporty" looks are featured, including legwear with large patterns and different effects such as opalescent surfaces, Gosling said. Colors remain in the neutral palette, which goes from pale beige to a light seafoam green.

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