Byline: Margaret Mazzaraco

NEW YORK — The Burlington men’s wear division of Burlington Industries has taken an Italian twist — Italian-designed fabrics for women’s apparel.
The collection, Esenzia, is designed by Marco Lucchesi, an Italian textile designer from Prato, and is produced at Burlington’s facility in Clarksville, Va. Lucchesi works in Italy and the U.S.
“We opened for spring 1995 with a worsted gabardine with a vintage look, and that has been the signature of Esenzia,” said Gabe Coya, vice-president of sales, at the women’s collection showroom opened late last year in Burlington’s headquarters here.
Coya said the 100 percent worsteds, worsted wool blends and silk blends are targeted to the upper bridge market, “with the idea of selling a half-dozen people who fill the criteria.”
The fabrics are $14 to $40 a yard.
Some ideas sampling well for fall are a sweatery-look boiled wool in deep sea green; Larissa, a beige and brown chenille-type in worsted wool, rayon and nylon, and a superfine worsted flannel.
Other key fabrics are Krepolina, a rustic, vintage-looking wool, and nylon crepe and glen plaid with twist-yarns, in taupe-cast mushroom and camel. Another is a sweater-look wool woven in a basketweave parquet pattern cord with the hand of cashmere. The collection uses a lofty worsted wool pile fabric for jackets, coats and blazers; a silk broadcloth, and a dove gray honeycomb-patterned double-weave silk with a sueded finish.
There are also piece-dyes, including worsted wool herringbones, steep twills and cords in earth tones such as taupe, olive and tan.
Coya said he’s not after volume, but with the use of fabrics, has created “a new aura” for the industry here.
“We’re saying, ‘Why go to Europe when it’s here?”‘ Coya explained, referring to the sumptuous look, yarn treatments and hand of the textures. The aim, he said, is to stay basic and classic while interpreting trends.
Another plus for the top-tier customer is that the division is offering small minimums beginning with 300 yards.
“We’re customized enough to sell one design to a customer and confine it,” he said.
Michael Marchese, sales representative for the line, said he was selling to such lines as Anne Klein II and Anne Klein.
“We now feel we’ve reached the goal we set out to do in sales for the first six months,” Coya noted.
What sold best for spring 1995 were blends of silk and cotton, and silk and linen in basketweaves, cords and plain weaves in neutrals with navy.