COTTON’S FORECAST: TECHNOLOGY KEY

Byline: Daniela Gilbert

NEW YORK — Technology will play an important role for the fall-winter 2000-2001 season, and will be combined with natural elements for spring-summer 2001, according to Cotton Incorporated’s latest round of trend presentations.
“Fashion is finally catching up with the advances of technology, just in time for the new millennium,” said Jo Cohen, associate director of The Cotton Works Fabric Library at Cotton Inc., who presented fabric, color and silhouette trends for fall-winter 2000-2001. “The exciting possibilities are explored in this season’s presentation entitled ‘Expectations.’
“Where we once may have envisioned ourselves in 2000-2001 dressed in futuristic silver space suits, we now can expect to wear high tech clothing that is the integration of nature, science, style and imagination.”
Cohen’s three trend groups — Mainframe, T1 Connection and Circuit Switching — take their cue from the computer world and represent apparel fabric and silhouette trends.
For Mainframe, the look is “traditional and basic, but with a twist,” said Cohen. Foremost in this group is the use of denim, which continues to be popular in darker shades such as indigo and gray casted. Other fabrics include corduroy, yarn dyed shirting, twill and flannel. This grouping also gets cozy with brushed fleeces, sculpted terry and novelty sherpas.
T1 Connection, meanwhile, focuses on a corporate look. This trend uses fabrics for all types of workplaces, from traditional to casual. Fabrics include printed corduroy, soft velvet and a variety of knits, especially brushed jerseys. Khaki, in a variety of forms, also plays an important role, with textured knits, twills and gabardines remaining central to the work wardrobe.
Circuit Switching is the dressiest of the three trends, but still manages to maintain a casual edge.
“While we can expect eveningwear silhouettes to remain traditional — a ballgown for women, a classic tux for men — fabrics are anything but typical,” said Cohen.
The grouping features cotton and nylon blends for durability, cotton and spandex combinations for enhanced movement and comfort, and polyurethane-coated cotton for waterproof protection.
Animal prints are still strong, yet become more abstract with motifs such as feathers and giraffe skin. Also important is a group of the finest quality cotton shirtings to update the tuxedo shirt or to be used in bridalwear.
Colors, meanwhile, are organized into five groups: Wood — a group of greens mixed with deep wines and accented with a bright kelly green; Earth — soft and muted colors perfect for luxury blends, especially in knits; Metal — grays softened with winter white and oyster and featuring a deep aqua highlight; Fire — a group of bright oranges and reds with pinks and purples mixed in, and Water — a collection of sophisticated khakis highlighted with a pumpkin color.
From these five groups come the top 10 color choices, according to manufacturers, designers and retailers. They are: Cassis, a light eggplant; Corn Silk, a celadon green; Slate, a deep blue; Chine Blue, a baby blue; Persimmon, a rich pumpkin orange; Silver Birch, a deep khaki; Mercury, a deep charcoal; Alabaster, a silver white, and Plum Blossoms, a medium lilac.
For spring-summer 2001, Suzanne Achtemeier, director of fashion marketing apparel, presented the Apparel Selling Ideas’ five groups of trends: Clean & Clear; Fiori, Exotica, Structure and Breaking Lines.
“This season is where it really starts to get interesting,” said Achtemeier. “We’re now a year into the millennium, and there is an increased melding of the natural and technological worlds. Natural fabrics are more important than ever, but technology is playing a huge part in how they are constructed and processed.”
“Important areas in color,” she added, “are neutrals, which are pivotal because we have such a wide range to choose from, whether for basics or fashion. Greens and blues are important to all areas, particularly in jade and airforce blue, while red and orange have mellowed a bit. Also, the use of monochromatic color, tone on tone, is a key trend.”
Clean & Clear uses a color palette of grays and white accented with a spearmint green and wintermint blue to help portray a basic, yet modern look. Fabrics include open construction knits, prints that add dimensional texture, ventilated wovens, fabrics with coatings and wet finishes, and fabrics with metal in them that are sculptable.
“I love the idea of a fabric that looks simple and clean, but involves a complicated process to produce,” said Achtemeier.
Fiori’s color palette plays with soft pink and white, strong reds and features green accents for a romantic look that includes an edge of technology.
“Transparent looks are really important in this group,” noted Achtemeier. “Whether it’s airy wovens, sheer fabrics or breezy cotton/polyester combinations, lightweight is key.”
Exotica brings together rich, saturated colors such as deep violet, jungle green and bright fuchsia to complement its fusion of cross-cultural ideas.
Indian Sari prints are featured here, as are colored coatings on both heavily textured fabrics and knits. Funky burnouts and relief tie-dyes and prints are also key.
“It’s about an eclectic energy,” she further noted. “A lavish kaleidoscope of modern abstraction. It’s a mix of ordinary and exotic that crosses boundaries and fuses cultures.”
Structure features a palette of environmentally friendly pigments including bamboo and wheat, accented with a medium blue and lime green.
“The look is raw and natural, but sophisticated,” said Achtemeier. Fabrics are practical and include canvas and basket constructions in cotton-linen combinations, ripstops in bottomweights, cotton-silk blends and twills with a dense and firm hand.
For Breaking Lines, the colors are vivid and feature an overall citrus tone that “wakes you up,” she added. Accenting these colors are a range of blues from lilac blue to deep navy.
Fabrics here are borrowed from the street and feature many performance features. Denim is key when overdyed in bright colors. Also important are canvas and twill looks, cotton-linen combinations — new for jeanswear — in indigo and an array of coatings that make denim water repellent.

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