COLORFUL, LIGHTWEIGHT FABRICS KEY AT PREMIERE VISION

Byline: Daniela Gilbert

PARIS — The spring 2001 edition of Premiere Vision showcased more color than ever, while exhibiting an array of lightweight, seasonless fabrics and the continued resurgence of prints.
“We are seeing the end of minimalism,” said Daniel Faure, president of the fair, which wrapped up here on Sunday after a four-day run.
“The return of color is a clear indication of the optimistic mood,” of the over 40,000 attendees, Faure added, with concurrence from many exhibitors.
“The interest in prints and color is definitely contributing to a growth in our business, across all markets,” said Riccardo Adamo, director of sales and marketing at Ratti Fashion.
Thanos Kamiliotis, president of E. Boselli, said, “The return of color, prints and overall fantasy is driving the business at this fair,” while Jean Luc Plantevin, president of Europeenne de Tissage, stated, “Business is strong over all markets and there is an absolute feeling of optimism in the air.”
Attendance was up among many countries including Japan and South Korea, signaling the improvement in Asia’s economy.
“Our Asian business grew substantially in 1999,” said Adamo. “It’s now 8 percent of our global business.”
Plantevin added, “Twenty percent of our world business is in Asia now. It has most definitely improved.”
Jean-Yves Alombert, creative director of Premiere Vision, said, “A certain feeling of generosity and happiness is going to prevail, bringing with it more color that turns up in prints, as well as wovens and embroidered looks.”
Other important directions, he noted, are fabrics that possess a lightweight, airy quality — “Even wool and cashmere that look heavy are feather light” — as well as fabrics that are personalized in some way.
“Now, more than ever, every fabric will need to have its own personality,” he said.
Color created many of the fabrics’ personalities. While pinks were still strong, the move was away from light and bubble-gum pinks to deeper cosmetic colors such as peony and magenta. A variety of greens and blues was also key.
“It’s great to see so much color again,” said Cheryl Rosenfeld, a consultant for textiles at Liz Claiborne Inc.
Designer John Bartlett, planning a more neutral palette for his spring 2001 collection, still plans to use color as a complement.
“I’m feeling a strong move toward green,” he said. “Acid green is going to be great as an accent.”
“It’s just so exciting,” said Lisa Falvetta, director of fabric research and development at Dana Buchman. “The pinks, purples and greens that are everywhere are so fresh and such a nice change.”
Sarah Lord, Susan Dell’s director of fabric and product development, was looking at “vibrant strong colors, but not necessarily bright — they’re softer than jewel tones and more feminine.”
Designer James Purcell sees a move toward rust, coral, marigold and fuchsia for spring 2001.
“The U.S. market is finally responding to color and it’s very exciting,” he said. “There’s a happiness in the air and there is definitely a feeling of negativity toward black.”
At Ratti Fashion, color was everywhere: Rich tones of pink, purple, red and green were featured on silk, cotton and linen. Bucol introduced a variety of new colors in its two-way colored silk taffeta.
“We now have a total of 250 colors and customers are appreciating the new offerings because it gives them more choices with which to coordinate their collections,” said Francois Damide, president of Solstiss/Groupe Perrin & Fils USA.
Ones’s booth abounded with pinks, oranges, blues and greens.
“Color is inspirational,” noted its designer Massimo Zanini. “There are so many possibilities for prints and embroideries when you use a lot of color.”
At Dutel Creation, export manager Olivier Caillet said, “People are looking for more and more color.” Caillet’s offerings include oranges, reds and blues, such as turquoise, on a wide selection of novelty and printed fabrics.
Prints, in fact, were another important trend. Abstract geometrics such as stripes, dots and checks were key, while large-scale florals were also important.
“I think there will be a move away from in-your-face florals,” said Denise Seegal, president of Liz Claiborne Inc. “It’s much more about geometrics right now.”
Designer Cynthia Rowley was looking at abstract geometric prints over florals but wanted them to have a personalized look.
“I love the idea of making a signature look. Some of the new techniques in printing allow you to do that.”
Examples, she noted, include a new way of printing silk using metallic ink or creating a scarf print with a personalized icon in the print.
Abraham’s owner, Erich Biehle, said the response to its new prints has been great. Print motifs featured colorful stripes and dots done in abstract patterns on natural fabrics such as silk and cotton.
At Henry Betrand, design director Katie Burke said that floaty, larger-scaled floral prints were garnering attention.
“They’re very feminine and include lots of color,” she stated. “Prints on georgette and chiffon silk have been especially important.”
Special printed looks offered buyers the personalized look Rowley mentioned. At Jakob Schlaepfer, an overprinted polyester guipure popped with an abundance of bright, neon-like color.
“It’s almost three-dimensional,” said Shkendie Kaziu, vice president, “and dimension is key.”
Ratti Fashion had a special treat for print buyers in the form of metal chain mail, with various colorful motifs printed on top.
“At over $200 a meter, it’s not for everyone, but I think it makes a strong statement with regard to print and color,” stated Lorenza Mosca, design director.
Lightweight and transparent looks were another important trend direction for spring 2001. Many designers spoke of the importance of seasonless fabrics for their customers and mills delivered with an array of gauzy, often barely there, looks.
“Seasonless fabrics are going to be key for me going into spring 2001,” said Bartlett. “I love the lightweight wools. I think they present a tremendous value to my customer who travels a lot and can take the pieces anywhere.”
Ken Kaufman, senior vice president and co-creative director along with Isaac Franco of Anne Klein, stated, “Our customers are international and they need transseasonal clothes. The new, lighter fabrics are great because they offer seasonless dressing and still give off an air of tremendous refinement and luxury.”
Even textures, noted Falvetta, are lightweight.
“Slubby and basketweave textures are still, thanks to finish, light and airy,” she said. “More and more, seasonless fabrics are becoming important and I think consumers are more accepting of, let’s say, a wool-and-cotton combination for spring.”
“The main thing I’ve noticed at this season’s fair is that looking around, you wouldn’t know if these fabrics were for spring or fall because the fabrics are all so seasonless, which I think is great,” noted Purcell. “It’s very modern and with the climate changing globally, women need and want these types of clothes.”
The retailers, he also noted, like the trend because there is no break in the selling cycle.
Marioboselli featured a cotton-and- metal combination in its Top collection that felt substantial, yet was sheer and lightweight.
“It’s attracted a lot of buyers because they keep asking for fabrics that work in a variety of climate conditions,” said Peter Yee of Horne & Weiss, the mill’s U.S. agent.
At Paul Dulac, a printed mohair, polyamide and viscose combination that is webby and airy got attention.
“People are more accepting of traditional fall fabrics such as mohair being used in a different way for spring,” said Claudine Favier, sales manager.
Michael Marchese, account executive at Luigi Botto, noted the importance of its sheer, gauzy wool.
“Wool for spring is not new but what’s new are the finishes that allow wool to be wearable for spring and summer,” he said.
A wool, paper and nylon combination, for instance, provided a more refined linen look. Another example, a wool, linen, cotton, viscose and cashmere combination featured a textured, chunky and open look with a light hand.
Texture, as always, continued to dominate many of the new looks and many buyers were praising some of the new finishes that gave off a slight shine without a tacky hand.
“What’s great about these new finishes is that you can have a slight gloss, but you don’t feel it,” noted Falvetta.
Textil AGB, a Spanish mill, featured a soft, lightweight viscose, polyamide and linen combination that featured a slight sheen. Lydia Ferran, designer, feels that shine will be coming back.
“It’s not a shine that is easily apparent,” she said. “A light gloss is key.”
Other examples at Textil AGB include a purple linen with a chintz finish that Ferran said gives a slight starched, structured look.
For Kaufman, finish is key for spring 2001.
“We’re working exclusively with mills to develop finishes that give traditionally more casual fabrics a certain refinement,” he said.
Even some of the rustic looks they’re interested in, he added, possess a more luxurious quality because of finishes that produce a softer hand or a cleaner look. Finishes also played an important role in some of the new linen blends that abounded at the show.
“The linen-and-nylon combinations are great because you have the look of linen, with the performance of nylon,” said Bartlett. “They still look traditional, but are more durable.”
At Crespi, treating linen in a new way was its direction for spring 2001, according to Riccardo Guatelli, president.
“Linen has traditionally been a basic cloth,” Guatelli said. “Now, with new innovation, we can combine it with other fibers and add finishes that take linen to the next level and make it a truly luxurious fabric.”
The mill featured looks in silk, cotton and linen, as well as 100 linen bonded with polyamide and embroidered on top.
“We want the higher-end customer to be buying more linen so we’re developing ways to make it appealing to them,” he added.
Liz Claiborne’s Rosenfeld noted, “Linen is great because you can add something to it, such as a polyurethane coating, and the look doesn’t change, just the hand.”
“Many of the glazed linens look great,” added Lord at Susan Dell. “They are also easier in terms of care because they don’t get as wrinkled.”
Fred Rottman, executive vice president of Picchi SPA, which offered many linen blends, said, “Linen is going to be important but mixing it with other fibers is what’s new.”
Picchi’s selection included linens combined with other fibers such as polyester, Tencel nylon, viscose and Lycra spandex. A linen, polyester and nylon combination, sampled by many of Rottman’s customers, featured a soft hand and a slight sheen.
Natural blends were successful across the board. At Schoeller, Christine Jenny, vice president, said that silk blends were especially important for the firm.
“We’re focusing on natural blends with a twist, such as paper, silk and polyamide combinations or silk, metal, polyamide and elastan,” she said.
Falvetta noted, “I’m loving the luxury cotton blends such as cotton and nylon. They bring a new quality to cotton, yet allow the fiber to still be dominant.”
All natural fabrics, meanwhile, enjoyed success in the designer market. Rowley, for one, felt that it’s the all natural fabrics that will be most directional in the future.
“Some of the older, more traditional cottons, silks and linens are great,” she said. “They’re a little bit more structured, but they’re so luxurious and simple. I’m looking to include fabrics such as Swiss pima cottons and traditional silk jacquards in my collection next spring.”
Also shopping the show was Pamela Dennis, who felt strongly about the more structured looks in natural fibers, as well.
“Bucol’s double-faced silk Dutchess satin felt great because it was substantial without being hard,” she said. “I love quality fabrics that have a little weight for structure, they feel very rich.”

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