Byline: Alice Welsh

NEW YORK — The twinset continues to be the favorite look for summer, based on the bookings recorded by knitwear manufacturers at last month’s market week.
Its popularity at all price levels is fueled, vendors say, by both the current taste for retro fashions and the twinset’s versatility as attire for hot days and air-conditioned offices.
Yarns now have become lighter and include cotton and linen blends and fine-gauge cotton.
The best-booking styles are close to the body, either cropped or hip length. In addition to the twinset, other popular looks are polo tops, T-shirts, vests and bare knit dresses.
“The twinset was very strong this season. We booked in excess of 3,000 dozen in fine-gauge ribbed cotton for $21 to $26,” said Eric Schiffer, chief executive officer of Erik Stewart, a knitwear manufacturer here.
“As a better manufacturer, that price range [under $30 wholesale] wasn’t even in my vocabulary, but we’ve lowered our ribbed knit prices to be competitive in our market, and we’ve been able to do significant volume.”
The best colors were the ice pastels, such as blue and pink, said Schiffer. Other popular styles were a tennis striped group in pastels that wholesales from $42 to $44 and an iridescent Lurex group in the same price range.
Summer has become a more significant season for knit manufacturers, he said.
“In the last couple of years, our summer business has really picked up,” said Schiffer. “It used to be almost nonexistent. With the advent of fine-gauge yarns and the popularity of knit dressing, summer is now an important market.”
At Anne Klein for Sadimara, a retro twinset in an acrylic and cotton blend with beading on the cardigan was the biggest hit, with a mock turtleneck shell at $19 and a cardigan at $62. About 3,000 sets were ordered in banana, rose and aqua, according to Lisa Minerva, account executive. A lion logo T-shirt with gold foil print booked about 7,000 units at $20 to $24. The best colors were blue, red and white. At Karen Kane Lifestyle, the twinset is “the unequivocal best-booking look,” said Sharon Roberts, national sales manager. A V-neck vest for $26 and waist-length cardigan for $34 in fine-gauge cotton have booked 1,000 each, according to Roberts, with pale pink the number one color. The company has booked 700 units of a cotton handknit, sleeveless, mandarin-collar vest for $42, she said.
The San Francisco knitwear line Margaret O’Leary booked 850 units of a cotton and linen V-neck pullover for $55, worn over a dress with a cotton and linen blend knit bodice and a linen pleated skirt for $100, according to Grace Molton, partner in the Felicia Grace showroom here, which represents the line.
The line’s cotton and linen zip-front cardigan jacket booked 930 at $95, and the coordinating linen cigarette pants at $68 booked 1,400 units.
The other top-booking look was a cotton and linen T-shirt in stripes or solids at $48, with 1,200 booked. Best-selling colors were ivory, black and earth for all styles.
Knitwear designer Donna Maione just started showing her summer group of sweaters in a cotton and rayon blend with textured stripes paired with linen woven bottoms.
“Mixing the yarns — cotton and rayon with chenille — brings a lot of texture and interest to classic shapes like the little cardigan,” said Maione.
The top-booking pieces are a short-sleeved cardigan for $84 and a cropped pullover for $77 in peach, pistachio and gray, she said. Maione is also booking a dress with a cotton knit blend bodice and linen skirt for $134.
Mary Jane Marcasiano, a knitwear designer here, said she went to Palm Beach, Fla., for inspiration for her hot pink and lime group of zipper polo tops for $85, cropped pullovers for $70 and a tank dress for $95 in a rayon and cotton blend.
The sweaters are paired with cotton piqué pleated short skirts or shorts for $35 to $55.
Twinsets in cotton and silk with pointelle detailing in yellow, taupe, sage and powder blue are top-booking looks, with the shell at $70 and the cardigan at $95.
Hummingbird Inc., a moderate resource here, is doing well with twinsets in terry cloth with satin trim for $15, booking about 10,000 units.
“Terry cloth in general has been our biggest selling fabric,” said Mia Schipiani, merchandiser and designer of the line. Other top looks are a Lycra spandex and Supplex nylon corset in black or white at $10 with 20,000 units booked, and a short-sleeved wrap front top for $13.50, also in Lycra and Supplex nylon, with 10,000 ordered.