TOUGH TIMES DON’T DETER TOMMYS

Byline: Michael McNamara

NEW YORK — The grim mood prevailing in the printed fabric market was spirited away — for one night at least — as the industry came together Thursday to celebrate its peers at the 21st edition of the Tommy Awards.
A record gathering of nearly 500 turned out at the New York Public Library for the black-tie affair, staged by the American Printed Fabrics Council to salute the top looks in prints.
“There’s been talk of so much gloom and doom, and to some extent, it accurately reflects the market,” said Pearl Ann Marco, principal of de Marco California Fabrics here. “But our export business continues to be strong…and domestically, we’re looking to a favorable 1996. Prints are the rage in Europe right now.”
“I think business could be better, but our early orders for next spring are up over last year’s at this point,” said Gerald Greenstein, a principal at JBJ Fabrics, here. “I don’t see 1996 to be a blowout year for prints, but I think the stores are going to want something different. Solids ruled at retail this year.”
Tommy Statuettes were awarded in 16 categories, including women’s apparel, men’s wear, children’s wear, over-the-counter apparel, accessories and home fabrics. Comedian Freddie Roman hosted the event.
In addition, Special Achievement Tommys were given to Peter Kaufmann, chairman of P/Kaufmann Inc., a maker of apparel and home furnishings fabrics; to Jack Finkelman, president of Cape Cod/Cricket Lane, a women’s sportswear manufacturer and a unit of Kellwood Co., and to the decorative home fabrics chain Calico Corners. Bert G. Kerstetter, chief executive officer of Everfast Inc., Calico Corners’ parent firm, accepted the award.
In receiving his award, Finkelman challenged the industry to “create excitement.”
“The consumer’s incentive to buy fashionable merchandise is gone right now,” said Finkelman. “Retailers, apparel makers and fabric producers all have to do things to stimulate the business. It’s not going to come to you.”
Here are the Tommy winners in the apparel and related sectors, listed by category, the type of design, the fabric firm and, if cited, the print’s designer, and the customer that used it:
* Misses’ dresses: a rayon georgette crepe botanical and floral sprig, from Cranston Print Works’ Evolution division, designed by Deborah Baronas for David Dart.
* Women’s blouses, separates and sportswear: a rayon crepe kitchen utensil motive by Evolution’s Baronas for Dart.
* Women’s intimate apparel, loungewear and sleepwear: a nylon and Lycra spandex museum rose print, de Marco California Fabrics, by June Anderson, for Vanity Fair Mills Private Label.
* Junior dresses: a polyester techno design by Bonnie Bullock of Transprint USA for the Tailor Shop.
* Activewear, beachwear and fitness: a polyester and Lycra tie-dye stripe by Gianni Cereda of Technographics Print World for Authentic Fitness.
* Women’s after-five: a polyester rose satin print by Donna Wolfson of Symphony Fabrics for Roberta by Jose.
* Children’s sportswear, activewear and beachwear: a polyester, nylon and Lycra mini butterfly and rose print by de Marco’s Anderson for Les Touts Petits.
* Children’s daytime dresses: a cotton French Provincial and small cameo paisley print by Ronne Gold of Bloomcraft for Sugarbuttons.
* Children’s party dresses: a cotton printed damask by Joan and Sharon Kessler of Concord House for P.J. Lindbergh.
* Men’ssportswear/loungewear/sleepwear (the sole men’s category): a cotton outdoors motif for a pajama, robe and boxer short ensemble by Joan Messmore of Cranston’s VIP division for Irving Marks Knitwear for J.G. Hook.
* Over-the-counter apparel fabrics: a cotton country store motif by Ro Gregg of the Wamsutta division of Springs Industries.
* Personal accessories: a cotton medallion and paisley print by the Kesslers at Concord House for a garment bag by Kim Colby for Vera Bradley.

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