By  on April 26, 2005

NEW YORK — Less can be more.

That was the theme at last week’s set of textile design shows — Directions and Printsource, both held at Manhattan’s Hotel Pennsylvania. Exhibitors continued with the strong print and embroidery themes they had highlighted at the last round of shows in February, with looks that were generally more subtle and influences that were less defined.

Westcott, which showed at Directions, drew on themes from around the globe.

“We have stripes that look Guatemalan, peasant looks that feel Ukrainian as well as a continuance of African and Indian styles,” said owner Peter Westcott.

The firm showed tie-dye looks with embroidery and beading, and pointelle knits in a rainbow of bright colors mixed with brown. Crochet was featured on many styles, either in fully crocheted fabrics or as an accent.

Milkprint, also at Directions, moved away from stronger ethnic looks and toward a softer feel, according to Sarah Gordon, co-owner and designer. “The feel is more naïve, more Russian in tone,” she said.

The studio showed such contrasts as heavy wool embroidery on chiffon as well as crewel-like stitching and crochet accents mixed with stripes.

“Everything has to be embellished,” said Paul Brewster, owner of Brewster, at Directions. “It has to have a jewel or bead on it to catch the buyer’s eye right now.”

Brewster said he was having a hard time keeping embroideries of any kind in stock in the face of high demand. At the show, his firm featured simple, linear flowers in a mix of bright colors as well as floral prints with lightly beaded and sequined accents. The assortment focused on two color palettes: dusty, with tones of pink, gold and brown, or bright, with turquoise, pink and orange.

Zinc, at Printsource, showed bright colors. It offered chevron knits in saturated, rainbow brights. “We do very well with bright colors,” said Donna Payne, owner, adding that crochet also was doing well, some mixed with jersey and embellished with sequins.

Also at Printsource, Mint had embroideries that were sketchy in feel and featured colorful florals and other botanicals.

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