COTTONWORKS’ SPRING HEADLINE: VARIETY

Byline: Allegra Holch

NEW YORK — Just as newspapers appeal to the different needs and interests of their readers, dressing for a variety of lifestyles was the focus of Cotton Incorporated’s recent Cottonworks Fabric Library trend presentation for spring ’99.
Jo Cohen, associate director of the library, took inspiration from different sections of the newspaper to create four trends for the season: Weekend, Classified, Arts & Entertainment and Sports.
“The latest news is that there is something for everyone,” said Cohen.
The presentations, which were offered to manufacturers, designers and retailers last month, included a video of recent runway fashion and candid street shots from various European cities, and a look at directional garments purchased in Europe. Those wanting to see the materials presented can contact Cottonworks.
At the press preview, special guests included Jim Dean, designer, and Liz diMonda Paul, designer and merchandising director, for Easel, a contemporary knitwear company. They presented looks from their current spring and upcoming fall collection using cotton and cotton-rich blends in knit and woven constructions.
“Cotton is a great vehicle,” said Dean. “It’s a great base for embellishment, prints, beading and embroidery.” Looks he showed included fine-gauge cotton camisoles with beading and pointelle detail, a skirt in an iridescent cotton and nylon jacquard and a cotton, viscose, angora and nylon-blend camisole.
In the color portion of her presentation, Cohen emphasized the importance of gray and pink, along with peachy orange.
“Color is very important this season, and it always catches the consumer’s eye,” she said, presenting five color stories for the season. They are Majolica, Mosaic, Manuscript, Aromas and Kata.
Majolica revolves around rich, saturated colors inspired by Victorian ceramics. Shades of green are important here, from jade to eucalyptus, along with yellow, delicate pinks and dark wheat brown.
Mosaic focuses on spice tones reminiscent of the colors found in the markets of Istanbul and Marrakech. Blues are also important in both gray-cast tones and brighter periwinkle shades. Peach, bold yellow and brick red round out the palette.
Manuscript is a group of neutrals that Cohen described as “commercial color that will sell.” The palette includes white and off-white, along with silver and a gray-cast taupe that Cohen suggested for khaki-style trousers. She said the palette would work well for PVC-coated or waxed cotton fabrics.
Aromas is inspired by flower petal and potpourri colors. The focus is on dusty shades of purple, nutmeg brown and pink.
Kata gets its name from the bright ceremonial scarves worn in Tibetan villages. Key colors in the palette include bright purple and pink, which Cohen said would work well together for patterns and prints, or pique textured cotton.
For the fabric and silhouette portion, Cohen showed fabric swatches and a video highlighting spring ’98 runway looks to correspond with the four themes.
The Sports trend is about an active lifestyle with influences from youthful streetwear that cross over into fashion. For example, Cohen noted that the zip-front sweatshirt has become a fashion item recently. The trend is predominantly a knit fabric story, and stretch constructions play an important role for ease of movement.
Surface textures such as terry cloth, pique, and thermal and popcorn-stitch knits are important here, as are cotton and rayon blends for sheen. Functional qualities are important, particularly water repellency with wax or PVC coatings and rip-stop weaves.
Arts & Entertainment focuses on elegant, head-turning fabrics for “grand entrances,” said Cohen. Home furnishing fabrics in weights that are light enough for apparel are important here, in such looks as polished cotton and regal tone-on-tone floral motifs in combinations of off-white and beige. Sheer fabrics such as cotton lawn, metallic touches and a variety of floral motifs from graphic to blurred also play a role.
The Weekend trend encompasses an eclectic mix of patterns, textures and silhouettes. Patterns range from foliage prints and rugby stripes to feminine florals on cotton pique or multicolored madras and windowpane plaids. Denim plays an important role in a variety of looks that include floral prints, lightweight chambray and red denim. Soft twills with brushed and peachskin surfaces are also key.
Classified revolves around professional, office-friendly looks. The classic, white-shirt silhouette is important here, done up in new fabrics such as sateen, striped poplin and end-on-end weaves for an iridescent quality. Visual texture such as basketweaves, piques and slubs add interest to classic cottons. Knits also come into play here, particularly those that mimic wovens, in space-dyes and striped looks for relaxed jacket silhouettes. Innovative styles purchased in Europe included coated cotton jeans with a rubbery hand, glittery metallic prints on jeans and a calendared cotton shirt with a very smooth, shiny finish.

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