INPRINTS NY: A BRIGHT SUMMER ’97
Byline: Allegra Holch
NEW YORK — It was color, and more color at the Inprints NY show’s summer 1997 edition at Arno’s restaurant here.
The three-day show, which runs through Wednesday, exhibits original print artwork from 15 studios. Traffic early Monday was steady but not bustling, and exhibitors generally said they felt the pace would pick up as the show progressed.
In the hunt for color, the studios and buyers agreed the brighter, the better. “The colors Gucci used for spring are important,” said Cathy Leese, a sales representative for Marilyn Kern Textile Designs, pointing to a turquoise, yellow and green watercolor plaid printed on satin. “There’s a lot of coral and orange, and bright citrus-colored florals mixed with chocolate brown grounds.”
In terms of prints, Leese cited stripes and plaids as top sellers along with flowers of all sizes, including border florals, and conversationals — especially fruit prints. “I think summer will go a little more towards tropical, safari and ethnic, whereas spring was more Sixties [with bold florals],” said Leese.
At Marilyn Feldman, color was a hot topic as well. “The major color story in the shops in Europe is yellow, orange and green — especially in juniors. You needed your dark glasses for this explosion of color,” said studio owner Marilyn Feldman. “The more forward designers in Europe are using blues mixed with yellows. It’s a very directional look.” “For the misses’ area, there will be more primary brights rather than the acidic junior brights. However, neutrals will still be strong in misses’,” she predicted. “There’s an incredible difference between the junior and misses’ markets.”
Feldman also cited the presence of “accessible ethnics” for summer. “Ethnic is a very American thing,” she said. “This time there will be bright ethnic color mixes such as blue with lime.”
“We’re doing very well with bright colors,” echoed Bryann Isaacs, a sales representative for Bette Goldstein Designs. “Juniors, dresses and even misses’ customers have been picking up on some of the brights.” In terms of prints, Isaacs said small-scale fruit prints and conversationals, such as balloons, perfume bottles and tea scenes, were doing well.
“Anything that’s bright is selling,” said Katie Meehan, an owner of New York Textiles. Meehan cited tropical fruits and florals as some of the more popular looks for summer.
London Portfolio was doing well with conversationals. “There’s a bit of travel, a bit of Havana, and aquatic themes such as fish and seaside scenes,” said James Lucariello, sales consultant. In the junior market, Lucariello said that high tech, optical and Pucci-inspired prints were strong, along with plaids and stripes.
“In florals, the emphasis is on greens, blues, yellows, tangerine and orange,” said Lucariello.
At Design Works International, Shari Tanaka, design director, said, “A lot of people are looking for bright, clear colors. Citrus colors on white or pastel grounds have an upbeat feeling to them. Spring’s color was softer; for summer people want something wilder, more adventurous.”
Among those shopping the booths, Maura Casey, director of private label sales and merchandising for Northern Isles, a better women’s resource, was enthusiastic about the citrus brights she was seeing. “Everyone’s tired of neutrals,” she said. “The bright fruits and florals are fun.” Casey said she was also noticing a lot of prints in citrus brights working off white and black grounds. One look on her shopping list was hard to find. “I’m looking for nauticals on an authentic and sophisticated level, but they’re either too men’s wear or too juvenile,” she said. “A lot of the safari looks are fun, but you have to be careful not to let it look too masculine. I like the look of terra-cotta and peach working off khaki.”
Barbara Alexander, vice president of the better women’s collection DuA Per DuA, wasn’t sold on the fruit prints. “I’ve seen quite a few fruit prints, but I really can’t deal with the thought of putting them on a body. Some fruits are unwearable. For instance, we saw one print that was a large basket of fruit,” she said. “I’m mainly looking for plaids with florals, although I haven’t yet found any I like.”
Alexander did buy a “very bold dot and flower print” from Groot & Co. Designs. “We buy from Groot all the time,” she said.
Resort themes were high on the list for Jeanne Khoe, designer for Usindo, a women’s sportswear company based in Los Angeles. “I’ve seen a lot of conversationals that are really cute without being too cute,” she said. “I bought a flip-flop print from Tanuki Studio and a little umbrella print from Bette Goldstein,” she said. “And I love the citrus colors like lime green, yellow and tangerine.”
Chris Scott, sales representative for European Textile Collection, noted that in addition to color, the studio felt strongly about a neutral story. He described this palette as “sophisticated and delicate,” pointing out pretty florals in tones of cream and pale blue.