COTTON: BEYOND MINIMALISM

Byline: Daniela Gilbert

NEW YORK — Cotton Inc.’s latest Apparel Selling Ideas, recently presented at their offices in Manhattan for the fall-winter 2001-2002 season, included trends and palettes influenced by a range of ideas from Latin culture to the high tech world, to name a few.
The five color and fabric groups were: Caliente, Chill Factor, Lush Life, Legendes and Viva.
“Fashion is moving away from minimalism toward more pattern, richness and decoration,” said Suzanne Achtemeier, senior director, fashion marketing. “There is a freshness created by utilizing new materials, innovative finishes and different layering and bonding techniques.
“In addition, there is a huge movement toward lots of color. Greens, for example, have become more sophisticated, and reds continue to expand. Neutrals are starting to dissolve and are moving into more green and yellow bases.”
The Caliente trend is dominated by the charm of South America. Colors include a variation of reds, as well as a selection of burnt browns. Fabrics such as moleskins, twills and mercerized ultra-fine knits are key. Patterns in this grouping are plentiful, with printed corduroy, printed florals, abstract plaids and geometrics.
For Chill Factor, cool colors in the blue family are prevalent and are combined with technologically advanced fabrics. Coatings play an important role with resin, wax, polyurethane and rubber finishes. Fabrics include flannels, jersey chenille, thick knits and cottons combined with nylon and wool for extra performance.
Lush Life provides a softer, more luxurious edge. Colors are tonal yet utilize shades of off-white, golden orange, browns and flesh tones for accent touches. Fabrics are featherlight in cotton and silk combinations, corduroy knits and cotton and cashmere blends. Meanwhile, hairy fleeces and open weaves add elements of dimension.
Legendes’ focus is on fantasy and fairy tales. The all-green palette ranges from yellowed to blued greens and from light to dark hues. Fabrics are functional and sporty with quilted knits, heavy canvas and basketweaves. Also important are heathered yarns, Bedford cords, soft and cozy tweeds and textured knits.
Las Vegas lives in Viva, with bright, saturated colors in orange-reds, golden yellows, lime greens and hot pinks. Fabrics are equally electrifying. with iridescent shirtings, giant waffle weaves, bonded mesh, high-loop terries, plush velours and, of course, loads of stretch.
Also at the presentation, guest speaker Shoshanna Lonstein, a designer sponsored by Cotton Inc.’s Innovator series, discussed how cotton fits into her designs.
“I love taking conservative, young-looking fabrics and making them sexy,” she said.
Lonstein joins the likes of Mark Eisen, Nicole Farhi, Nanette Lepore and Cynthia Rowley, all of whom have been named innovators over the years by Cotton Inc.
The Innovator Series recognizes the talents of up-and-coming women’s wear designers who work predominately with cotton fabrics. As an Innovator, Lonstein was recently profiled on Main Floor, a nationally syndicated fashion program.