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.At The Works, which showed at Printsource, co-owner Sirma Koro showed a line of ethnic looks toned down for summer. “It still has the essence of ethnic without being too obvious,” she said. “People want more generic looks.”

The Works’ lineup included embroideries mixed with prints and metallic accents.

Jam, a new line out of London at B Design Studio, which showed at Printsource, featured embroidered military looks, denim embroideries that were slightly ethnic in feel and a group of soft florals printed on gauzy cottons.

Printsource’s Groot Design, meanwhile, took a look underwater with whimsical and colorful ocean themes — many a mix of print and embroidery.

The Fiber Price Sheet
The last Tuesday of every month, WWD publishes the current, month-ago and year-ago fiber prices. Prices listed reflect the cost of one pound of fiber or, in the case of crude oil, one barrel.
Price on
Price on
Price on
52.88 cents
47.09 cents
68.40 cents
Polyester staple
69 cents
66 cents
60 cents
Polyester filament
76 cents
76 cents
58 cents
March Synthetic PPI
Crude Oil
*The current cotton price is the March average on fiber being delivered to Southeastern region mills, according to Agricultural Marketing Services/USDA. The wool price is based on the average price for the week ended April 22 of 11 different thicknesses of fiber, ranging from 15 microns to 30 microns, according to The Woolmark Co. Information on polyester pricing is provided by the consulting firm DeWitt & Co. The synthetic-fiber producer index, or PPI, is compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and reflects the overall change in all synthetic-fiber prices. It is not a price in dollars but a measurement of how prices have changed since 1982, which had a PPI of 100. Oil prices reflect last week’s closing price on the New York Mercantile Exchange of future contracts for light, sweet crude oil to be delivered next month.

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