By  on March 2, 1994

NEW YORK -- As they strive to maintain last season's strong momentum, knitwear manufacturers will offer updated silhouettes and lots of textures for fall.

Among the biggest fall trends are:

  • Rayon, cotton and acrylic combinations of chenille.
  • Head-to-toe knitwear dressing for daytime or evening.
  • Crop sweaters and other takes on novelty silhouettes.
  • Layering relaxed and deconstructed separates.
Some makers are quite emphatic in their forecasts. Take Adrienne Vittadini, one of the most prominent knitwear designers. "Fall is going to be all about texture, texture, texture," said Vittadini, who is chairman and chief executive officer of the company carrying her name. "It's not the season to be traditional. In order to entice customers to buy, fashion has to be a novelty. Otherwise, there would be no reason for people to shop. We already have more clothes than we need."

While traditionally known as a knit resource, Vittadini is putting even more emphasis on knits this season. Its Adrienne Vittadini Sport line will be 90 percent knits for fall, compared with 80 percent last year. The Adrienne Vittadini Collection will again be 80 percent knits. Mohair, heather wool, velvet and bouclÄ wool are the primary yarns for the designer's fall lines. The silhouettes will be short and clean.

Robert Bock, president of 525 Made in America, is expecting sales of the women's knitwear division this year to increase by at least $5 million -- a 25 percent increase over a year earlier, when sales came to more than $20 million.

"There will be all kinds of yarns, tweeds, heathers, necklines. I hope the stores are prepared for novelty," he said.

Nearly 35 percent of the 525 fall line is made of rayon chenille or acrylic chenille, and Bock expects crop tops, smoking jackets and turtlenecks with crocheted trims to be big sellers. Half of the company's new 12-piece scarf collection is made of chenille blends.

"Without a doubt, this fall will be the biggest season for chenille," said Bock, whose company has been doing chenille for four years.

Rugged-looking cotton and wool blend sweaters should be another hot item this fall, Bock said, adding, "I think it will appeal to a lot of people since it has the warmth of wool and the softness of cotton."

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