LOOKING FOR A SPARK FROM FASHION

Byline: Karyn Monget

NEW YORK — While manufacturers and designers are anxiously awaiting the arrival of retailers at next week’s spring-summer market, exhibitors at the Intimate Apparel Salon are sure of one thing: products that have a fashion twist — from a melange of bold or cosmetic colors or a romantic vintage floral print to a groovy geometric motif — should spark the interest of buyers.
Vendors said the overall message will be that of ethereal silhouettes, such as little chemises and slipdresses, as well as camis and briefs that have a soft, feminine look in airy fabrics like chiffons, laces, meshs and sensual laces. There also will be a healthy turnout of what is being called “comfortwear” — easy, softly tailored pajamas, robes and long and short nighties rendered in a variety of solid and printed softly brushed cotton knits.
Following the trauma of recent terrorist attacks on the U.S., manufacturers are banking on a big demand for items that will make consumers feel warm and fuzzy, and safe.
According to Doner, a Detroit retail communications firm, “Consumers want to spend more time at home. This could take several forms: doing things with family or entertaining at home, instead of going out. Some, in fact, are hunkering down — adopting a bunker mentality.”
Regarding trends, Lisa Leigh, director of merchandising and sales at August Silk Intimates, said: “We feel strongly about silk as the Christmas gift, and the trend will continue into spring. Florals are coming back in a big way, and Asian-inspired prints, twin printing and geometrics also will make a big impact. Colors are soft — lavenders, pale blue, soft pinks and reds make spring a relaxed, easy season. Trims will also be important, from beaded laces to big floral embroideries.”
Victor Lee, chief operating officer of NAP Inc., noted: “Our overriding message in our licensed Crabtree & Evelyn and Anne Lewin lines is a soft, feminine look in high-quality fabrics, such as 80-single cotton yarns that are extremely lightweight, and a variety of cotton textured fabrics.”
Susan Pink, senior vice president of sales for French Jenny sleepwear at Richard Leeds International, said: “For Mother’s Day, we’ll be doing a lot of special effects like embroideries and handbeading on cotton wovens. Spring will feature fun colors such as hot pink, bright blue and kiwi green in prints like fruit salad, palms and flamingos. Transitional will focus on Americana looks in red, white and blue, bandeau border prints and lots of sparkle.”
“I’ll be doing a lot of feminine silhouettes in men’s wear-inspired paisley prints with lace and chiffon trims,” said designer Helen Sanchez. “I do a lot of sleepwear that translates into at-homewear.”

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