By and  on February 26, 2008

PARIS — Despite economic woes and the strength of the euro against the dollar, high-end brands and designers applauded Première Vision's offering of innovative technical fabrics, bold color stories and underlining artistic flare for next spring.

"The economy is definitely a concern, but European fabrics are what differentiates us from the competition, it's the icing on the cake," said Trina Turk, president of her eponymous label, who reported a positive winter season. "When the economy is bad, you have to do something even more interesting. Customers need an emotional reason to shop. Basics are not the answer."

While Turk noted that certain fabrics, especially wool, had seen price resistance, she said she would be increasing her budget for her spring and summer purchases. Wool prices have risen substantially in the past year due in part to a drought in Australia. Turk lauded textured wovens such as linen blends and cottons from F.A.N.S. Textile Factory and Texmoda Tessuti.

"The euro is killing the dollar," said New York-based designer Erin Fetherston. "It's very difficult. The fabrics have to be innovative and inspiring to warrant the high price tag. We have to inspire people to go shopping, especially now."

While Fetherston enjoyed the explosion of vibrant fabrics at the show, she voiced concerns that taking bold directions also could be a risk factor, especially during cloudy economic times.

An artistic mood, seen in modern surrealist prints and Impressionist takes on the Pop Art genre was a clear direction for next season, according to many designers.

"We saw a rich variety of disturbed prints, such as blurred checks and free-hand [illustrations] inspired by Prada's fairy collection," said Jane Rowling, head of design at the British fashion chain Principles, who predicted that cosmetic colors, such as Sixties brights, will be hot for next spring.

"Paint-brush prints and stroke prints are very strong, as are prints with an abstract modernist feel," said Anna Fahy, designer for the U.K. fashion chain Dorothy Perkins, noting that overdipped dyes were also key for summer 2009.

Several mills reported a satisfactory show despite the fashion industry's gloomy economic perspective. However, some saw fewer orders, although with better quality.

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