NEW YORK -- Milliken & Co. presented its annual trend apparel workshop last week, and for the first time, innerwear was a highlight.
The three-day presentation at the fabric giant's corporate headquarters at 1045 Sixth Ave. here focused on directional colors and fabrics from ready-to-wear that are expected to have a strong influence on innerwear fashions, as well as on swimwear, over the next several years. The workshop was open to manufacturers, retailers and the media.
June Roche, corporate fashion director of Milliken, presented slides that showed directional looks on European streets, at European and American runway shows, and at designer boutiques in London, Milan and Paris. A model also wore items Roche had purchased at stores in Europe.
Key ideas included lots of gray heather knits in daywear, crochet and knit trims in foundations, daywear and sleepwear, and patchwork and richly printed velvet at-homewear looks in black, bronze, burgundy, brown and topaz.
Blends of cotton and Lycra spandex and stretch satins of nylon and Lycra, particularly in matte solids, or textured ribs and sharkskin finishes, will be important, she said.
One category that Roche believes has a good deal of growth potential is shapewear."Control garments will take on a greater importance, especially in softer, prettier looks for juniors," she predicted, showing items she purchased at Marks & Spencer, London.
Unlike seasonal trend forecasts that have a specific time frame of about a year, Roche focused on ideas she believes will be directional for the next two to five years.
"We are focusing more on lingerie because its such an expanding market," she said, noting that the number of intimate apparel fabrics at Milliken has more than doubled to 15 this year.
Among Milliken's new innerwear fabrics is a lightweight nylon power net, and a trademark Butterskin group of two fabrics that have a soft, chamois hand: an Antron nylon and Lycra blend, and a Supplex nylon and Lycra blend.
Matte luster nylon and Lycra will build in importance, she said, as well as new fabrics like the firm's trademark Jacquerie, which has textured dobby effects and comes in black, white and fashion colors.Each year, Roche singles out a country she believes will have an influence on fashion. This year, it is Czechoslavakia, particularly its capital city of Prague, with its dusted pastel colors in shades of salmon, lavender, turquoise and yellow, and its trompe l'oeil patterned architecture.
"The ancient fresco tones and the textures of the architecture in Prague are very directional," she said, showing photos taken this winter. "It's an emerging country and a place that hasn't been discovered or commercialized yet."
She added that the deeper hues of vegetable colors such as beet, eggplant and carrot -- seen on doorways and buildings in Czech villages -- also will be directional in intimate apparel over the next couple of years.
Other colors singled out by Roche include dusty rose, topaz, bronze, brown and a palette of gray shades ranging from a light slate to deep charcoal.
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