Byline: Allegra Holch

NEW YORK — “For spring, the message was color. For fall, it’s the marriage of color and fabrication.”
That was the word from Stephanie Will, senior trend consultant for Bureau de Style, a fashion forecasting company, at a presentation here looking at fall ’97. It was part of the seminar series held in conjunction with the recent International Fashion Fabrics Exhibition at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.
Will and Haysun Hahn, president of Bureau de Style, divided the season’s looks into four categories: Autumnal Scents, Travel/Reminiscence, Winter Light and Place VendOme.
Autumnal Scents centers around “the classics revisited and romantic life in the country,” said Will. “There is a very painterly approach to color and print. It’s Impressionist-inspired, the way those artists merged colors.” Colors are vibrant; berry and purple shades are juxtaposed with blue and green. Knits in multicolored effects and nubby, loopy yarns will be important. “It’s a season to be brave with colors and textures,” said Will. The addition of stretch to classic fabrics such as corduroy and wool suitings will continue to be the way to update the traditional.
Travel/Reminiscence introduces hand-crafted effects such as fringe; heavy, cabled knitwear, and blistered, puckered looks. “It’s exciting to see new ways of doing texture; the more extreme, the better,” said Will. The color palette is predominantly spicy yellows, browns, pewter, copper and bronze. Metallic yarns and coatings will be key. “The message of shine is still important, but now it means just glints of light,” said Will. A multicultural approach in layering and color mixing will be important, along with ornamental fabrications with an Asiatic influence.
Winter Light emphasizes white and frozen, icy blues for skiwear silhouettes and fabrics. Fake furs for detailing and trim, and fabrics that impersonate fur, such as curly knits, are also key. Cables in raised, extreme looks on small, fitted shapes; Nordic snowflake patterns, and warm, fuzzy chenilles will be prominent in knitwear. “Comfort is important — even in structured fabrics,” said Will. That means the addition of stretch and napped surfaces on wovens. Heavy and puffy fabrics will appear with quilting effects, double-sided looks and boiled or felted wool. Will also emphasized the importance of what she called “smart fabrics,” fabrics with advanced technology that perform — such as fabrics that wick moisture away from the skin.
Place Vendome, presented by Hahn, focuses on the renewed interest in status and luxe. “I grew up in the Seventies and Eighties,” said Hahn. “I’m kind of glad all that bourgeois stuff is back.” Hahn said value and workmanship are becoming important to consumers. “Spending the money is worth it,” she said. “The younger, generation X-ers have grown up, and they’re spending money. They’re very conscious of style and status.”
Pastels with a “sophisticated flare” blended with neutrals such as taupe are central to the color palette. Fabrics have a slight textural interest, but they are smooth to the touch. Herringbones and tweeds and woven fabrics with a stiff hand will be important.
The body-conscious suit e la “Dynasty” will be a key silhouette, aided by stretch wovens and ensemble dressing, with its attention to head-to-toe looks, will be powerful. And this is a great time for accessories, from hats to shoes and bags and sunglasses.