Byline: Karen Monget

NEW YORK — Color — specifically colors from the ready-to-wear arena — will continue to be a major influence in innerwear in 1997 and 1998, according to June Roche, longtime fashion director of Milliken & Co. But the palette will retreat somewhat from the bold brights of the past few seasons, she said.
Roche detailed her forecast at a series of three innerwear-swimwear workshops held in January in the theater of the Milliken corporate offices here at 1045 Sixth Avenue. These annual presentations are done for designers, retailers and the media.
Key colors, emerging from recent runway shows or borrowed from vintage items, included rich hues of gray and brown, pressed-powder cosmetic tones, aquatic blues and seafoam green. Roche illustrated her thesis with slides of current spring ready-to-wear and fashion-forward innerwear pieces purchased by Roche in European specialty boutiques and department stores, plus some ideas garnered from flea markets in Paris and London. In the U.S., she also shops the Salvation Army stores and the South Beach boutiques of Miami.
Holding up some vividly hued fabric swatches from last year, Roche cautioned, “I think the brights now look cheap on satin. Now, the colors have to be more sophisticated, less bright for the satins to look right.”
Pale pastels, she added, primarily in dusty “potpourri” shades of pink, lavender and mauve, as well as a variety of nude tones, look “fresh and new” on matte and deluster fabric blends, Roche noted. “Even the old basics of graphite and charcoal gray look new in matte finishes,” Roche said.
While bras and bottoms in coordinating colors continue to be strong, Roche noted: “It’s starting to be very hip to wear a bra with different-colored bra straps, and panties in another color.”
One model then appeared wearing a seamless beige bra with ivory straps by Laura Urnanati Underwear, a Milan resource, and light control briefs in chocolate brown by Sognando Con Te, a secondary label of Bologna-based La Perla.
Roche further noted that rtw prints, as well as textured treatments, will be important factors in crossover looks from the boudoir to the beach.
“I expect there will continue to be an overlapping of trends in the innerwear and swimwear fields,” she said, noting special effects in both areas include quilting, zigzag stitching, seaming, faggoting, embroideries and “crunchy-looking” crochets.
Optical striping, gingham checks, Sixties-inspired paisleys, florals and “pot holder” prints were among the ideas she forecast would be important crossover prints. She predicted that circle ring treatments in hardware or fabric — which were hot in the Sixties — will “make a big comeback.”
Another major trend will be white bras and coordinating panties of pique cotton or waffle-textured cotton with white rickrack trim, she said. Because of the clean-looking pique effect, Roche called the idea “Lacoste-inspired.”
As for key innerwear trends currently at stores in Europe, Roche said two bra styles appeared popular: unconstructed daywear bras that looked like a girl’s first bra and sexy-looking, seamless, molded styles.
“La Perla’s seamless foam bras with a double-strap treatment were everywhere. There also was an interesting bra style by La Perla that had a look of a vintage dress form with horizontal seaming,” Roche said.
“Engineered control was hot, especially control items by Wacoal,” she continued. “Marks & Spencer is doing a lot of daywear items in Tactel, like panties and camis with built-in bras.
“Their sales staff is now calling this [fiber] classification microfiber, and there’s signage saying ‘microfiber.’ I think they want it to be generic.”