WOOL’S SOFTER SIDE
Byline: Dianne M. Pogoda
NEW YORK — Maybe the coat industry can’t predict the weather for fall, but the style forecast is decidedly feminine.
Soft-hand wools will be the main attraction, according to The Wool Bureau, the American branch of the International Wool Secretariat. The Bureau is hosting a series of coat workshops for its women’s Woolmark and Woolblend licensees, retailers and mills. The series ran throughout this month and is being extended into February. According to a survey conducted by the group in October and November among 974 retailers in the U.S. and Canada, 72 percent of coat purchases are in wool, and the anorak is still the leader among short coats, generating 20 percent of short-coat sales. They are hottest when updated with real or fake fur trim, said Madeline Falino, marketing information manager. The classic reefer continues as the top-selling style for long wool coats, generating 24 percent of sales in that category, followed by A-line styles, at 22 percent of sales. Black remains the top color overall, with 33 percent of sales.
“Fabrics next season have lofty, brushed surfaces in pretty, feminine colors,” said Donna Locascio, fabric sourcing manager.
Key fabrics for next fall’s feminine side include:
Velour and bouclé.
Wool-rich blends with mohair, cashmere or angora.
Plush, textured ribs, ottomans and cords.
Brushed and blurred tweeds, plaids and stripes.
In silhouettes, the new princess — with raised waist, oversized buttons and pockets — is the key trend to watch for. Fit-and-flare styles, as well as the swing, with a full hem, drape and movement, are also important.
Lengths for the full silhouettes are generally fingertip or at the knee. Longer styles fall to mid-calf.
While black still tops the color charts, mid-range pastels like soft pink, peach and celery are also coming on strong. For short boxy coats, the Wool Bureau points to bright plaids, while modern shapes will be executed in stronger shades, like hunter green, plum and royal.
Although the flavor of fall is more feminine, such men’s wear looks as full cocoons, oversized kimonos and belted silhouettes with large collars and cuffs still have a place in the women’s coat market.
For these looks, strong, compact fabrics, like matte melton and shetland mixes, covert and whipcord, pinstripes and tweeds, are key. Predominant colors are dark raisin, indigo, inky black and chocolate, while details include fur and velvet trims.