PV’S FALL 2001 FORECAST: LUXE AND SHINE

Byline: Daniela Gilbert

PARIS — Feminine variations on traditional men’s wear fabrics, as well as luxurious and shiny textiles, were the most prominent of the many fashion messages offered at this month’s Premiere Vision.
And while choice is a good thing in fabric, some designers felt that the too-large scope was a bit unfocused, from plaids and other men’s wear styles to geometric silks or silk-like textures and flashy, Eighties-inspired Lurex-infused looks.
The show wrapped up its four-day run at Paris’ Parc des Expositions Villepinte on Oct. 8.
While many of the trends were an extension of the plaids and herringbones seen at the July European PreView show in New York, the newer looks at PV came in the form of mixing these classics with decorative, feminine touches. At the high-end St. Gallen, Switzerland, mill Jakob Schlaepfer, embellished traditional fabrics were the focus.
“Embellished looks continue,” said Shkendie Kaziu, vice president. “There’s been a great reaction to some of our traditional plaids that are decorated with stones, embroidery and beading.”
Feminine themes also carried throughout the fair. There were the delicate, chantilly-like laces at Solstiss; a collection at Ratti Fashion that included vintage-looking silk crepe de chine, twill, dupioni and chiffon, and handcrafted, colorful wovens at Mahlia.
Many apparel designers agreed there was a need to return to classics as a reaction to the onslaught of color and pattern in textiles over the last two seasons.
“I really feel it’s time to simplify fabrics in order to make them more individualistic,” said women’s apparel designer Douglas Hannant. “It’s really time for designers to dictate to the mills what we want in terms of fabric. For so long, fabric mills were leading the designers and now I feel more designers are taking the initiative.”
Frederick Anderson, president of the Douglas Hannant line, added, “Our customer is taking more chances with her wardrobe. We really have to be more focused in what we give her and for that reason, special orders are becoming increasingly important.”
Anderson said that he thought the “harder, slicker-looking fabrics” on display were a needed relief for the market, adding, “Everything has been a bit too nobby lately.”
Apparel designer James Purcell said he liked the variety offered by mills.
“I love the contrast of wet and dry looks together,” he said. “Not shiny, but slick. And in a not-so-obvious way that’s a bit hidden.”
Steven Slowik, going into his second season designing the Bill Blass line, agreed.
“For fall 2001, it’s about contrast,” he explained. “A flat, clean fabric against a textured one in wool and cashmere, for instance.”
He was also interested in some printed styles.
“Some of the geometric prints I’ve seen look great,” he said, adding, “But customization in this category is going to be extremely important for us.”
Classic styles abounded, from Bucol’s lightweight, reversible duchess silk and Abraham’s heavy, structured doublefaced silk to a gold- and wheat-colored group at Ratti Fashion that featured a cashmere and wool tweed, as well as a crocodile print on silk.
In addition to prints, a number of exhibitors showed highly patterned jacquards. Alex Shuman, design director for Michael Kors women’s collection, said she loved the mix of the two.
“A jacquard jersey knit or a jacquard suiting woven, while not new, looks great mixed with prints,” she said.
Shuman added that she had an eye out for “strong, rich and beautiful” base fabrics,” adding, “The quality of the cashmere, wool and silk has been incredible.”
The current high price of cashmere, however, has forced Shuman to rethink the fiber’s place in the collection.
“Cashmere will probably become more of a novelty than a base for us going forward,” she said, “because the prices have been so outrageous. Blends are therefore going to be key.”
She also suggested that the collection might use wool as a stand-in for too-pricey cashmere in some instances, such as, “A wool melton coat in place of a cashmere one perhaps, but with a special added something, such as a unique finish or treatment or wonderful hardware.”
Lurex metallic fibers also were widely shown at the event.
Long connected to the Eighties, the fiber has seen a resurgence due to the return of gold and luxe looks. However, rather than taking the over-the-top approach of previous years, fabric designers are being more sparing in their use of it.
“Sophie Hallette had very beautiful laces, dipped in gold, that were subtle,” noted Donal O’Neill, design director of the Carmen Marc Valvo women’s collection. “I also saw great denims with a gold-leaf effect on them.”
Isaac France, co-creative director of Anne Klein, said, “Lurex is great, but I think it’s really important to note that the look should be subtle.”
Luigi Botto mixed Lurex into tweeds for an updated look, while Reggiani showed a lightweight, flat tweed stretch fabric featuring touches of Lurex.
“A bit of shine adds something special to the fabric and gives it a more luxurious look,” said Elena Reggiani, president of the Varallo, Italy-based wovens mill.
Other mills that featured looks in Lurex included Hammerle & Vogel, which showed the fiber in a variety of their synthetic and natural blends; HOH Hoferhecht, which featured it in a tweed with the added effect of sequins; Paul Dulac, which mixed it with mohair embroidery, and Abraham showed its classic acetate, lurex and polyester denim twill in a range of darker colors.
Guigou, a Lyon, France-based knit and woven fabric mill, showed what owner Sophie Veron described as “Lurex for day.
“It’s perfect for suiting, and sporty, yet modern,” she said. The heavyweight fabric, with a subtle shine, was made of acrylic, wool, nylon and a metallic polyester.
Some mills created these looks with other metallic fibers. At Hurel, for instance, metallic thread was featured on a lace pattern.
The Swiss mill Schoeller also showed metallic looks.
“These looks are still going strong for us. They’re highly fashionable while still providing an essence of performance,” said Christine Jenny, vice president. For instance, the Sevelen-based company showed a gold denim, made with cotton, nylon, spandex and a gold-colored metal.
Marioboselli, a Garbagante Monastero, Italy-based knit and woven fabrics mills showed its range of prints, many of which contained metallic fibers.
“Geometric prints with shine are still very key to Marioboselli’s collection,” said Peter Yee of Horne & Weiss, the mill’s U.S. agent.
Lurex was also in abundance at many knit mills, including Aico and Tesj.
“It’s really all part of the turn toward more luxurious looks,” said Ailide Giorni, sales executive at Tesj, based in Citta di Castello, Italy. “Lurex really works with the season’s return to opulence.”
Although attendance for the fair was down slightly from last fall, the show’s officials noted that country attendance was up for Italy, the U.S., Spain and Korea. Total trade visitors came to 38,069, down 2 percent from last fall’s staging of the show. A total of 841 exhibitors participated in the event.
Event organizers also said that Jean-Yves Alombert has stepped down as the fair’s fashion director. Pascaline Wilhelm, who worked closely with Alombert throughout his tenure at PV, has replaced him.

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