Byline: Alegra Holch

Speakers at three separate trend presentations conclude that the past and the future will converge for spring 1997.

NEW YORK — The start of the year brought several trend-forecasting presentations for spring/summer 1997, and the consensus is that change and newness will be essential.
At the same time, novelty will be tempered by substantial references to the past.
“If I had to define the season in one key word it would be ‘modern,’ ” said Angelo Uslenghi, marketing consultant for Milan’s Moda In fabric fair at a recent presentation sponsored by the Italian Trade Commission. The presentation, at the Equitable Building here, drew 140 apparel, fabric and retail executives.
“There are so many new things, especially as we approach the 21st century,” he added. “Business is not good, so the best way to convince the consumer to buy is to offer something new.”
This viewpoint was shared by Phil Schroff, consultant to Monsanto, at his recent color forecast for the season held at Monsanto’s offices here.
“There are so many changes going on in the marketplace, and throughout the world,” he said. “The change is so accelerated that things are obsolete before they’re even digested.”
Schroff said the season has a “split personality.”
“We have one foot in the past and one in the future,” he said. For instance, he pointed out that a fabric might be an old construction or weave, but done in a new, unusual color or combination of colors. And new blends of fibers — whether natural/natural, natural/synthetic, or synthetic/synthetic — will be increasingly important because they contribute to the esthetic, performance and seasonless qualities of the garment.
At PromoStyl’s recent summer ’97 trend forecast, held at Parsons School of Design here, consultant Lysiane de Royere, from the company’s Paris office, also noted the presence of opposing forces that she calls “retro” and “techno.”
According to de Royere, retro influences will show up in folkloric looks with stripes, textured jacquards and satin ribbon trim. Compact fabrics, like compact jersey reminiscent of the polyester jersey of the Seventies, will reappear.
“We decided we didn’t like polyester jersey in the Seventies, but it’s coming back with stretch, double jersey and matte aspects,” noted de Royere.
Retro nylon with a Forties reference will also resurface. “It looks like a ‘bad taste’ type of nylon, but now, bad taste is becoming good taste,” she said.
The more futuristic side comes from new technologies and advancements in fabric development. Lacquered coatings and shiny leather will predominate with neoprene and compact knits coming into play for active, futuristic looks.
Uslenghi also brought up neoprene, sponge-like textures and shiny, watery, coated or bonded surfaces as important materials for the season, relating this to his overall theme of the sea, or “Waterworld,” as he called it.
What makes the season modern or high-tech is how colors, textures and prints have the look of being interpreted by a computer, said Uslenghi.
Like Shroff, Uslenghi also stressed the importance of innovative blends, to give natural fibers like cotton and linen a modern quality.
“When you blend the natural with the synthetic, the fabrics have a new concept — something the 100 percent natural versions don’t have,” said Uslenghi.

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