By  on November 6, 2006

NEW YORK — Innovation and technology can help fashion satisfy a variety of lifestyle needs, according to information from the semiannual Invista workshop for lingerie, sleepwear and at-homewear.

Invista intends to address demands from fashion-conscious consumers who also want comfort and function with the expansion of its Lycra Body Care program. In addition to Black Lycra and Super White Lycra fibers, it will feature what Invista executives describe as a "breakthrough" introduction: an X6300 Nylon that allows the production of nylon moisture-management fabrics without special wicking treatments.

In other words, Invista anticipates the new lightweight nylon fiber, which was developed to help keep wearers cool and dry, will provide more design options than polyester has in the past in numerous categories, including bras, underwear, sleepwear, loungewear, legwear, activewear and swimwear, said Dianne Lobar, Invista's marketing communications manager.

The new nylon fiber, which is yet to be officially named but is being called Tactel freshFX in-house, was unveiled in September at the Lyon, Mode City trade show in Lyon, France. It will also be shown to garment makers at the Salon International de la Lingerie fair in Paris, scheduled for Feb. 2 to 5. Apparel manufacturers from a cross section of branded and proprietary labels are working on prototypes, Lobar said.

Marie Dekens, manager of retail and brand marketing of intimate apparel at Invista, noted that Black Lycra, a naturally black elastane that offers a clean, no-grid effect, is "getting into lace in a big way." The use of Black Lycra has expanded dramatically over the past six months and includes an array of elastics, as well as potential in ready-to-wear, she said.

The workshop, which runs through Dec. 15, is being presented at the Invista offices here at 1430 Broadway. The format focuses on directional fiber, fabric and fashion trends that encompass spring-summer 2007 and fall-winter 2007-2008. Iris LeBron, president of trend forecasting firm Concepts International, presented a slide presentation of key trends from the Lyon fair, as well as rtw runway shows in France, Milan and New York. The workshop is staged for retailers, designers, merchandisers, mills and the media.

The idea, said LeBron, is to highlight directional trends in lingerie, sleepwear and at-homewear, trends that are increasingly being influenced by rtw, sportswear and activewear. At the same time, crossover ideas from the lingerie field continue to evolve in active lines such as Nike and Stella McCartney, and on rtw runways by names such as Louis Vuitton, Prada, Fioruccci and Jean Paul Gaultier, she said.The workshop's three themes, which LeBron described as "lifestyles for the modern woman," include:

  • Sensual Sport
  • Natural Beauty
  • Creative Crossover
"There's been a lot of transition over what to call this classification. Is it sexy or sporty? Let's call it sexy sporty," said LeBron, noting that active looks, including sports bras, are being rendered in "sporty pastels" as well as color combinations such as eggplant and pink.

Styling includes trompe l'oeil effects, embroideries, layering, retro-inspired looks from the Twenties and Thirties and corset-styled silhouettes. There also is a major statement of Black Lycra paired with Super White Lycra.

LeBron described the Natural Beauty theme as "24-hour fashion."

"People want fresh, organic products like the Lycra Body Care program with aloe vera," she said. "There's Skinsations with Aloe by CuddlDuds, a line of warm underwear that's been microincapsulated with aloe. It's a big item at Penney's. And there's a yoga pant in the Victoria's Secret catalogue that's done with vitamin E."

Another best-selling example is being sold at Target in the Well Being area: Soothing Aromatherapy Socks infused with the scent of peppermint.

Also an important part of the Natural Beauty theme are "true whites," a range of textures, white-on-white patterns and matte-and-shine hues of white in Super White Lycra that do not require bleach to retain a "pure white look."

"I read an article in Vogue where women were throwing bleach out because they didn't want to be around chemicals," LeBron said. "Super White Lycra eliminates that problem."

The Creative Crossover theme focuses on "double-duty" apparel.

"Is it loungewear, beachwear or streetwear? These are items that can transition very easily from one market to another," LeBron said, noting graphic prints, soft pastels, character prints, color blocking and different colors for camouflage motifs like blue and brown.

"There's a lot of bloomer styling from the rtw runways, great heathers, mix-and-match graphics and a lot of slipdresses and camis that have a double life," LeBron said.

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