Byline: Phyllis Macchioni

MILAN — Color and texture were the two big elements at last month’s Moda In fabric show. Natural fibers retained the momentum they have built over the past few seasons, with wool and cotton fabrics highly visible throughout the show.
Patterns too — particularly plaids and prints — held the limelight at many stands, which were introducing fabrics and trims for the fall-winter 2001-2002 retail season.
Six hundred exhibitors participated in this year’s edition, including 138 foreign companies, as 25,000 people passed through the gates during the three-day fair, an 11.5 percent increase in attendance over last year’s edition. Exhibitors said they were particularly happy with the high number of Asian buyers that attended. The fair, which wrapped up its three-day run at the Milan Fairground on Sept. 13, is organized by Sitex, the organization for the development and promotion of textiles, the Italian Cotton Association and the Italian Industrial Textile Federation.
“We are finding that most of our buyers are happy to see more natural fiber textiles being offered, and the return of strong, rich colors,” said Ruggero Rossi, owner of Lorenzo Rossi & Figli, a Milan-based cotton and wool fabric mill.
“Because we are a traditional house,” he said, ” we don’t produce a lot of techno-fabrics. But for fall-winter, we are offering our clients a new line of microfiber fabrics designed primarily for outerwear, and a new multiuse wool and cotton stretch fabric.”
Duemilagori offered a wide selection of textured wools in tweeds and houndstooth checks, and cotton velvet in deep opulent colors. Luciano Vinattieri, Duemilagori’s director of sales, said that the response to the return of traditional styles and natural fabrics was encouraging. The addition of metallic yarns continues to be an important feature in the Duemilagori line, but cotton velvet, particularly in hot jewel tones, seemed to be their new run away bestseller, he said. According to Vinattieri, traditional narrow-wale corduroy was selling very well, as were tie-dyed wools and large striped wools in hot, bold colors.
Rich colors marked the palettes across all the stands. Camel, sand and off-white were on the light end of the charts, followed by the luxuriant fall shades: dark forest green, pumpkin, burgundy, copper, saffron and deep violet. Alessandra Calori, a textile designer for Ratti-Braghenti, said her company’s New York clients showed a strong interested in wool jacquards. Other novelties at Braghenti were the silk and microfiber combinations and all-silk plaids that were available in 60 color combinations.
Lanificio Luigi Botto showed an array of sumptuous fabrics, including a selection of wool jerseys. Many selections in this supple and sensuous line were crossover fabrics, which designer Richard Cardascer said could be used for either men’s or woman’s clothing. Pale pumpkin, butterscotch, Mediterranean blue and chestnut were the hot shades.
Color was also big news at Alcantara, a leading manufacturer of synthetic suede. Double-faced suede, one side a textured tweed, plaid or boucle, backed with supple ultra-light microfiber, was featured in new collection.
“We can now cover [synthetic suede] with a plasticized film, or apply a transparent layer that adds shine,” said Gianpietro Oriani, Alcantara’s North European director of sales. “These two applications protect the fabric while keeping it soft and pliable.”
While the trend toward natural fiber fabrics continues to be strong for most fashion applications, techno-fabrics are holding their own in outerwear and specialty applications.
At Clerprem, owner Gian Roberto Marchesi said his goal this season was to create new effects in its line of denim fabrics, using some of the research and development resources of its parent company, a manufacturer of seating systems for railways and automobiles.
The company’s colors for the fall-winter 2001-2002 season include dark blue, graphite, marble, dark camel, burgundy and brown.