KEEPING YOUR COOL

Byline: Daniela Gilbert

NEW YORK — Masters of Linen predicted that calm will be a key element of the spring 2003 season, according to a recent presentation by consultant Ornella Bignami.
“It’s becoming increasingly important to surround ourselves with tranquility and simplicity,” she said. “Fabrics that are comfortable on the body are going to be as important as ever.”
She added that new qualities of linen and linen blends fit perfectly into this feeling.
Bignami identified three themes as key for next spring: Silence, Charm and Discipline. She gave thoughts for each group on color, fabric, pattern and finish.
The mood for Silence, she said, is intimate and serene. “It’s very discreet,” she said. The theme’s colors included a range of whitened neutrals — both pure white and softly tinted shades such as powder gray, mist, silvery cloud, glass and cement — as well as “off tones” that include sandy white and dune beige. The theme’s fabrics were both lightweight and structured with voiles, crepes, ultra-fine jerseys and loose knits complemented by heavier, more compact weaves and bleached linen denims. Patterns fused modern graphics with motifs inspired by nature — most notable were fragile burnouts, openwork lace and on-the-bias pleats and tucks — while finishes included pearlized surfaces as well as slightly blackened or veiled casts.
For Charm, the mood was more romantic, reminiscent of Impressionism and nature. The group’s colors included softly faded tones that Bignami said “accentuate linen’s natural softness and irregularities.” Blue, rose, cornflower, green, rosewood, thatch, hay and russet were some of the hues. The group’s constructions were intended to be cool and comfortable. Linen and cotton combinations showed raised textures such as honeycombs and seersuckers, while linen and rayon blends featured smooth poplin and satin weaves. For pattern, Bignami focused on both structure and yarn-dyed effects such as irregular stripes, handkerchief checks and mini tone-on-tone checks, many of which featured broderie anglaise. Prints, meanwhile, were inspired by the greenhouse, she said, with botanical and herb motifs. Old-world finishes were seen on many of these looks with subtle patina or faded surface effects.
Discipline, which Bignami described as having “an austere authenticity,” was much more sparse in feeling. The group’s range of shadowy, darkened colors included cobalt, coffee, grape and garnet. In terms of construction, the group is full of rustic, heavyweight fabrics with surprisingly soft hands that featured constructions such as mesh and diagonal weaves. Linen-and-silk blends in the group were either trashed and faded or clean and structured. Embroidered patterns, which Bignami said were well suited for heavier cloths, included jagged, interrupted, freehand or lace-like cuts. Butterflies, she added, will be key, as will “artsy prints with a 20th-century focus such as Cubist, photomontage and modern color blocks.” For finish, coatings were light, allowing the linen to breathe and the weave structure to be seen through slightly lacquered or patina effects.

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