PLAIDS AND STRETCH PREVAIL IN L.A. SHOW

Byline: Kristi Ellis

LOS ANGELES — There was a distinct pattern to the activity at the recent edition of the Los Angeles International Textile Show, with plaid and tweeds plotting a fall 2001 comeback.
Ranging from doupioni to abstracts and tartans, plaids for next fall dominated the event, held Oct. 23-25 at Los Angeles’s CaliforniaMart, while tweeds were also showstoppers.
At the same time, the momentum continued for prints and stretch, as well.
On hand to pick up spring-summer 2001 immediates and preview fall-holiday, manufacturers showed a lot of interest in prints, which ranged from patchwork animal skins to oversized florals and Pucci-inspired geometrics.
The three-day show featured 350 domestic and international exhibitors, covering more than 200,000 square feet of exhibitor space.
On the international side, the Texitalia show brought in 31 Italian fabric manufacturers, showcased in the mart’s fashion theater and featuring high-end fabrics for women’s ready-to-wear, men’s wear, children’s wear, swimwear, outerwear, lingerie, bridal and casualwear.
For the first time, Texitalia included a group of 15 mills specializing in swimwear fabrics, which presented their summer 2002 collections.
Exhibitors in the mart reported that traffic was on a par with last year’s show. Typical attendance ranges from 5,000 to 6,000.
“We were looking for newness in prints, ranging from florals to abstracts,” said Moshe Tsabag, president of Hot Kiss. “I feel very strongly about prints going forward, but we need newness because they have stagnated a little.”
Among the prints he is incorporating into his junior sportswear line for next spring and summer are geometrics, ditsies and florals.
Tsabag’s design team was also scouring the show for laces, mesh prints, butter-knit prints and bottom-weight prints, such as printed twill or stretch denim.
“If we find something that we can sink our teeth into, we will jump right in so that we can get mileage out of it,” he added.
He planned to review De Marco California Fabrics and Knit Trends — two of his most important fabric suppliers.
Anna Linan, head designer for Los Angeles-based contemporary dress firm Mica, said she was a little disappointed in the show.
“I was ready to shop for fall, and not a lot of exhibitors were prepared for fall,” she said. “Spring is a done deal for us, and I didn’t find any fill-ins at the show.”
But, Linan did pick up on the buzz, which was plaid and tweed.
“We won’t go crazy with plaid, but we will definitely touch on it,” Linan said.
Fall was also on the mind of Ta-Ning Conner, designer and owner of Churchgirl, a contemporary line of tie-dyed mesh and cashmere tops.
“I am just here looking at things for next fall, and I am seeing a lot of color going forward, as well as unique textures and new sweater fabrics,” she said. “I am looking for unusual things that don’t necessarily go together, such as patent leather trims on classic tweeds.”
Most fabric suppliers showed spring-summer and gave a sneak peek for fall.
The secret weapon for fall at New York-based converter Symphony Fabrics Corp. is iridescent nonstretch satin, according to president Seymour Schneiderman. But plaid, ranging from multicolored to metallic, has generated the biggest buzz, he added.
“Burberry started it, and it could be a trend or a flash. We’ll just have to wait and see,” he said.
Although Symphony was showing its fall line, Schneiderman said he had “a cadre of people looking for spring and summer — I’d say that 60 to 70 percent are still looking for spring-summer.”
Symphony is banking on wovens, sheers and glitz for spring-summer, he said.
“The ratio of wovens versus knits used to be 65 percent to 35 percent, but now it is equal,” Schneiderman said. “Knits have become commodities, and people are looking for noncommodity looks, which is more achieved by wovens.”
Among the important prints were all of the usual suspects, including: stylized florals, Pucci-inspired prints and plaids.
De Marco California Fabrics, another New York converter, was showing new spring-summer fabrics and prints, as well as immediate fall-holiday product.
“Bookings are good,” said Max Marco, co-owner of de Marco.
For spring and summer, geometrics, abstracts and oversized florals drove de Marco’s junior business. The company offered multicolored prints with names such as “Sugar Cube” geometrics, “Surf Waves” abstracts and “Optic Beads” circles.
The strongest fabrics were meshes in nylon, Lycra and spandex combos and sheers.
De Marco’s misses’ business focused on check prints on such fabrics as stretch jacquards and sateens, as well as animal prints, which remained strong.
“We are continuing with animal prints in both pant and shirt weights,” he said.
The prints come with a twist, such as a patchwork variation of several skins and the face of the animal.
Nu-Image Fabrics offered up the same key trends in the junior market, including geometrics, oversized florals and plaids.
Ken DePalo, sales manager for Nu-Image, said key fabrics include a lot of sparkle, glitter and stretch, as well as textured tweed looks.
“We do some product orders here, but we come here with the goal of finding new customers, and we think we have found some,” he said.
In the Texitalia pavilion, Gaetano Cuomo, president of the Milanese mill Cuomo, said animal prints and bright colors were the top sellers at the show.
Prices are on the designer level, ranging from $10 to $12 a yard for polyester to more than $20 a yard for printed meshes. Cuomo was showing velvets, glitter wovens and silk organzas.
He said, “Everyone likes modern prints, such as classic abstract plaids and ombre florals.”

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