Byline: Phyllis Macchioni

CENEROBBIO, Italy — A wide array of trends for spring-summer 2002 were on display at the recent Ideacomo fabric show, which closed its three-day run on March 30.
Ornate looks seemed to dominate the show, with designs including florals, geometric-print and plaid fabrics as well as some textiles adorned with sequins, embroidery and metallic fibers. However, the basics also made an appearance, with classic black-and-white prints showing a firm presence in the background.
At Menta, owner Giuseppe Menta and fabric designer Michele Tettamanti were putting their money on elaborate prints. Their designs included flower prints evocative of the 19th century on silk organza and gauze. Brights and opaques, bas relief and a mix of crinkled textured laser-cut backgrounds were paired with smooth colorful flowers to create three-dimensional looks. Even cotton jacquard was embossed for additional textural interest. Menta’s color cards showed combinations of pink and aubergine, rust and turquoise, and mauve and teal blue.
Not all the companies were showing glitter and glitz, however.
“We are a very classic house,” said Marco Roncoroni, commercial manager for Taroni SpA. The company’s silk collection for spring 2002 was true to that message. White jacquard, textured black natte and lots of stripes, primarily in black and white made up the bulk of the Taroni collection. The palette leaned towards the traditional colors of summer: lime green, apricot and violet.
Serikos turned out a silk fabric that resembled denim, finished to look like a worn pair of jeans with a light silk feel. Their summer looks also included a variety of textures and jungle animal prints.
Color and shine ruled in the Tessitura Serica Canepa collection, with the company putting nature in the spotlight. It offered printed lightweight silks decorated with fields of pansies, forests of bamboo and multicolored butterflies fluttered as well as large peach-colored water lilies on crepe de chine. The company also used a lot of black and white stripes.
Officials at Canepa worried about the effect the show falling at the end of the season was having on traffic — however, they said they hoped that an upcoming change in the show’s schedule would boost attendance.
“This has become a European show, but it wasn’t always that way,” said export manager Claudio Civetta. “We used to have a good American following, and perhaps with the change in the fair calendar next year, Americans will start coming again.”
Show organizers said they were planning to move the 2002 show dates up on the calendar, to March 6-8 and Oct. 2-4. Ideacomo president Beppe Pisani contended that the changes will give more importance to the Como, Italy-based silk industry.
The next edition of the show will remain later in the season, Oct. 18-20.
“Ideacomo has always been the last fair of the European textile season,” explained Pisani. “Next year, by anticipating the fair dates and placing Ideacomo right after the Paris and Milan fashion shows, the fair becomes even more important. A change in the fair dates has been under discussion for quite a while and now that it has actually happened seems to have given Ideacomo a much needed shot in the arm. So far, we’ve had 15 new applications from important European and Italian silk producers looking to participate next year. Hopefully attendance will increase as well.”
About 737 buyers attended the event, according to show organizers.
Pisani and the president of the Silk Producer’s Association, Alessandro Tessuto, have yet another project in mind. Following the model of next year’s planned Italian luxury men’s fashion week, which will include the Ideabiella wool show, Shirt Avenue and Tie Boulevard fairs, the duo are trying to organize a luxury women’s wear week, starting with Ideacomo. They did not say what other women’s shows they might coordinate.
After two years of economic difficulties and a change in fashion trends, silk producers have been working overtime to jump-start their sector. They recently developed a set of product-certification standards for silk and silk blends. They also are trying to develop an Italian silk trademark, similar to the Cotton Inc. seal or The Woolmark Co.’s icon, to use in consumer promotions.
For the first time in a while, Italian silk producers got some good economic news at the show. The Italian Silk Producers Association released figures showing that, last year, silk production was up 9 percent and exports were up 8 percent. That, the group said, offsets the decline in sales the Italian industry suffered in 1999, after the Asian economic meltdown.