EUROPEAN PREVIEW BOWS IN NEW YORK
Byline: Daniela Gilbert
NEW YORK — For some designers, the prospect of looking at fall 2001 fabrics while still wrapping up their selections for the spring season might feel a bit overwhelming.
But don’t tell that to the more than 3,000 attendees that flocked to European PreView’s first workshop, produced by Premiere Vision, which wrapped up its two-day run July 19 at the Metropolitan Pavilion on West 18th Street in Manhattan.
The European feel was complemented with custom-made booths constructed entirely by French carpenters, a very French lunch menu, as well as security and general personnel, all flown in from Paris especially for the show.
As Sarah Lord, director of fabric and product development for Susan Dell, said: “It’s really a very valid show. The timing is great and having something like this in New York is so important to the industry.”
“The turn out looked phenomenal and although I hope they continue to keep the scale of the show small, I do hope that they include more high-end exhibitors next time because offering a broader range of market areas would benefit both the show and the designers.”
The workshop featured 146 European exhibitors from Italy, France, Spain Germany, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Portugal and the U.K.
Among the key trends highlighted at the show were heavier constructed fabrics and vibrant patterns such as plaids and chevrons.
“The atmosphere alone is very Premiere Vision,” said Francois Damide, president of Solstiss/Perrin & Fils USA, the umbrella company for such fabric firms as Solstiss, Bucol and Les Tissages Perrin. “Right away, when you enter the building, you get a great feeling — it’s very French. I am also quite pleased with the quality of exhibitors and buyers here.”
Damide also felt that the show wasn’t too early.
“It’s three months ahead of PV and really gives us a chance to work ahead on special orders, which is such an important part of our business,” he said. “Now we can finalize orders at PV instead of working on them for the first time.”
That’s a point that eveningwear designer James Purcell echoed.
“It makes special orders so much easier,” he said. “We have a lot more time to organize our selections. It’s a great show and I think it will only grow over time.”
Damide noted that trends at Bucol included home furnishing-style jacquards in silk and cotton and a black moire in silk.
“These two fabrics have received a lot of attention,” he added.
At Solstiss, they’re using “lots of mohair,” while at Les Tissages Perrin, Damide is having success with the line of fabrics for scarves and other accessories.
Miguel Adrover — fashion’s cause-celebre of the fall collections — said it was great to see so many resources all in one place.
“It’s a little strange because this is the first time I’ve ever been to a textile show,” he offered. “It’s not very private, but interesting to see, nevertheless.”
Adrover plans an array of classic fabrics with a twist for his fall 2001 line.
“I love using very classic fabrics in unusual ways,” he added.
Also important, he noted, was putting eveningwear fabrics into the mix.
“Solstiss is great because many of their beaded looks add an evening element to a look,” Adrover added.
Donal O’Neill, design director at Carmen Marc Valvo, said: “First off, the buyers were very elite. There were definitely designer-level buyers at the show. The trends presented by the mills were great and I was pleased to see that their color stories had been fully formed.”
Some looks that interested O’Neill were Pucci-like prints on jersey and the use of Lurex in knits and jerseys — notably Marioboselli’s abstracts with shots of Lurex as key.
“Guigou had some great colorations, the dusty, rosy pinks were so sophisticated and new,” he said. “I see pink going into fall in just that way, warmer and a bit darker in hue.”
One look from Guigou that stood out for O’Neill was a gauzy mohair jersey with a dusty rose and gold color combination that looked “rich and very expensive,” he noted.
“Bucol also had some great fresh, new colors, most notably a deep dark red taffeta,” O’Neill said. “The only problem I saw as an eveningwear designer was that there were not enough lace and eveningwear fabric resources. But that reflects the American market, it’s much more sportswear driven.”
Daniel Faure, president of Premiere Vision, said not to worry, the spring edition of the show will feature much more lace and other eveningwear looks.
“It was only natural for the fall show to feature more wool mills,” he said. “We are planning to make the selection more diverse in the spring with more fancies.”
Eveningwear designer Pamela Dennis said she was “pleasantly surprised,” because “you really got a feeling of what was happening.”
Although she was really there, she admitted, to wrap up her spring selections, she noted that many of the mills were not only accommodating, but that the pace was much more relaxed than at PV.
“I felt relaxed and comfortable in every booth I shopped,” she said. “It really gave me a chance to look at new developments and I love that the show is such an easy size to shop and not as overwhelming as PV. It really gets you excited about the next season in a pleasant way and really gave me a base to build on for fall 2001.”
Cheryl Rosenfeld, textile consultant at Liz Claiborne, said: “It’s a great preliminary show, and there was a great selection of better-end mills. I saw some clear direction in the way of cottons blended with synthetics that felt more cottony and less techy. It’s all thanks to the more sophisticated finishes that are out there. That really felt new and interesting to me.”
Also key, she added, was novelty fabrics with vibrant pattern work.
“I also love that they’re using novelty yarns, such as chenille, in the pattern work,” Rosenfeld added.
Designer Nanette Lepore said she went to European PreView to “reacquaint myself with mills and agents I haven’t seen in a while because I haven’t been to a textile show in some time.”
“It was very intimate and featured a great balance of exhibitors,” she continued. “It’s also great to see New York becoming an important place for a European textile show again. I will continue to support it and would love to see it continue.”
Lepore was referring to last year’s cancellation of the European Textile Selection, held at the Hotel Intercontinental, which was a popular show for several years before interest fell off.
Stephanie Hollingsworth, senior design director for Guess’ young contemporary and girls’ division, said: “Being in contemporary, we work really early and this is great for us to be able to get the attention from the mills that isn’t possible at a place such as PV. In a sense, PV is too late for us and this show has given us a head start on developing our fall 2001 line. It’s been a great, positive experience.”
Trendwise, ladylike looks continue, she said, but noted that they present a challenge in the junior market.
“We will take the trend and make it more Seventies retro, very Jackie Brown,” she said.
Examples include metallic treatments in bronze and gold, which she noted, “adds a richness to the fabric and gives it more dimension.”
Also key were denim with new treatments.
“Mills are not only printing denim, but they are adding flocking and metallic details to the prints as well,” she added. “That’s really new and very fun and exciting for our market.”
Talbots fabric designer Tina Torres noted that vendors were well prepared for the workshop.
“It was wonderful to see storyboards that the mills had created and many of the looks featured natural fabrics, which is what our customer understands,” she said. “I loved the use of angora and other precious yarns. They’re so soft and luxurious.”
Other key looks for Torres were cross-dyed end-on-end solids, as well as indigo being done in a career way. Finishes were important as well.
“There were lots of fluffy faces on fabrics and plump-up yarns that had great hands,” she continued. “Many of the looks were brushed without looking distressed, which was key.”
Jerry Dellova, vice president of women’s wear merchandise and design at Corbin, was pleased that he “got a chance to see new resources because the atmosphere was so much calmer than at PV.”
“As far as trends,” he continued, “classic is back. I saw loads of houndstooth, windowpane plaids and gingham. I loved the prints that were ladylike and looked new. The selection of pretty, colorful plaids was equally exciting and I was also pleased with the clean and very elegant color palette of black, ivory, camel, burgundy and orange.”
Classic fabrics, in fact, were a recurring theme at many of the booths. Heavier constructions, such as velvets, chenilles, boucles and tweeds, were key, as were large-scale patterns that included such jacquard designs as houndstooths, chevrons, plaids and stripes.
“The classic fabrications are back for fall 2001,” said Fred Rottman, executive vice president at Picchi. “The feeling is very YSL from the Seventies, lots of plaids and checks using multicolored melange yarns.”
Examples included a yarn-dyed wool and nylon flannel plaid in pink, yellow, green, blue or purple.
“Our yarn dyes are getting a great response,” Rottman said. “The colors are rich and sophisticated and not as bright as last fall.”
The trend area created by Jean-Yves Alombert, fashion director of Premiere Vision, presented additional looks in tweed and boucle, as well as patterning such as plaids, houndstooth and chevron.
Emmeci featured a plum plaid in wool, while at Tiroler Loden, an orange, pink and purple plaid was displayed in wool.
Heavier constructions in tweeds and boucles were also seen at Alba La Source, where tweeds came in colors such as orange and green, and featured wool blended with polyester and nylon and silk.
Jules Tournier showed a lighter-weight lavender tweed in wool, angora and silk, while Bisentino introduced an orange, purple and yellow tweed/chevron combination in wool and nylon. A beige boucle with ribbons of yarn woven through it in wool, mohair, alpaca and nylon also was featured.
Patterning was key, with an array of jacquard designs. Quarona’s new cotton and wool jacquard collection featured herringbones and chevrons, while E. Boselli’s jacquards were spaced florals.
At Mario Bellucci, a brown-and-beige chevron in a cotton and wool blend showed a slightly shaggy, soft hand. Guigou’s chevron was larger and featured plum and camel on wool and nylon.
Highlights at Tissage Du Causse, meanwhile, included a multicolored combination houndstooth and windowpane plaid on wool, polyester and acrylic.
In addition to the more classic fabrics and patterns, abstract geometrics — key to last fall’s selections — were still strong, yet were more sophisticated in design and color.
At Malhia, multicolored jacquard circles were combined with pink sequins and gold, shimmery accents.
Bispunt also featured metallic accents on their olive green diamond pattern in a rayon, polyester and nylon blend, while at Sulpice, a purple jacquard with cross-like patterning was seen in wool, acrylic and angora.
Colors, meanwhile, were deeper and more luxurious than last year’s palette.
Aerin Lauder, executive director of creative marketing for Estee Lauder, was in attendance looking for beauty trends in color and texture for Estee Lauder’s fall 2001 cosmetics line.
“I go to Premiere Vision each season to look at both colors and fabric textures and relate them to our new line,” she offered. “I was very happy with the show and saw a lot of evidence that fabrics for the fall 2001 season are more heavily constructed than last year’s lighter-weight constructions.”
This translates into the texture they will use for their new line with, for instance, a heavier color palette for lips as compared to the more sheer colors used last year.
Colorwise, Lauder witnessed a palette of burnt oranges, ink blues, khakis and pinks and will later incorporate that into Estee Lauder’s line for fall 2001.
Although producers of the workshop stress that European PreView is not PV in New York, Lauder, nevertheless, missed the absence of the Paris fair’s high energy and extensive trend information.
However, she added, “It’s great not to have to travel to Europe and to have something like this in New York. It’s really very inspiring.”
Fern Mallis, executive director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, said a possible tie-in between the January edition of European PreView and the fall 7th on Sixth runway shows, of which Mallis is also executive director, that month is still in the premature stage.
“It’s really a matter of logistics right now,” she said, “but I would love to do it.”