NEW YORK — Last fall’s legwear frenzy caught a few retailers by surprise — and low on stock — but this year everybody should be on board for what legwear manufacturers are hoping will be another strong season.

During last week’s legwear market here, vendors unveiled fall collections intended to maintain the excitement brought on last season. Fashion styles continue to drive the market, and last season’s forward trends, such as fishnets, patterned hosiery and color, have hit a solid stride.

“Women are beginning to look at hosiery much like an accessory,” said Nadine Hall, general manager for Sara Lee Hosiery. “This fall, we will see all this color and texture in a mainstream way, not just in the major metropolitan areas.”

Fishnets continue to be a strong classification and are now considered almost a basic by many manufacturers. The infusion of color, particularly shades of pink, has given the look staying power. Companies are also focusing on developing creative styles. Some firms, such as DKNY, licensed by Sara Lee, showed larger, more open weaves of varying thickness.

Rather than redesign a weave, Levante, like many brands, introduced the basic fishnet in new silhouettes, such as footless tights and knee socks.

The layered trend, equal parts fashion look and protection from frigid temperatures, will extend through fall. DKNY introduced five pieces in different colors, textures and yarns meant to be mixed and matched together. The group includes flat-knit leggings, colorful cable-knit legwarmers, short-ribbed anklewarmers, thin-ribbed stirrup legwarmers and cotton jersey over-the-knees with belt-buckle detail.

Companies continue to take cues from the runway, this time picking up on the men’s wear inspiration. Nine West Legwear’s Boy Meets Girl group feminizes the look by adding color to tweed and herringbone patterns.

“We’re seeing the leg dressed in a way that’s not just casual,” said Pat McNellis, president of women’s brands at Royce Hosiery, which makes the licensed Nine West line.

She added that trends such as elegance, dressing up and feminine suiting inspired the look.

Color is another force fueling legwear this season, with shades of red — from pink to deep burgundy — standing out as the season’s best-selling hue.Many firms cited the interest in fashion hosiery as boosting sales of basic styles, as well. While the customer is brought into the department for a trend item, she picks up a classic sheer tight, too.

In response, a number of brands are increasing their basic offerings. Ellen Tracy is introducing a complete range of black pieces from over-the-knees and thigh highs to low-rise tights in varying degrees of sheerness.

“Women are clearly dressing their legs now,” said Barry Tartakin, vice president and general manager of Pennaco, which holds licenses for Ellen Tracy and Givenchy. “What we’re starting to see is our core business growing, as well, because women are finally back in the [hosiery] department.”

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