PARIS — Designers were stretching it out at the most recent edition of Première Vision.

This story first appeared in the November 4, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Dow Fiber Solutions — maker of the new XLA elastic fiber — presented capsule collections at the fair from the five designers picked to participate in the company’s Rising Star program. The program, developed in partnership with the Centre for Fashion Enterprise in London, ESMOD Paris Fashion School and New York Fashion International, was created by Dow to expand horizons for up-and-coming designers. This season’s selections included Christian Tournafol and Shin’s, both of France; Victor de Souza of the U.S., and Alistair Carr and Christopher Ryan from the U.K.

Each collection consisted of 15 garments with stretch fabrics using Dow’s new XLA fiber, introduced at PV last fall.

“Although they are from different backgrounds, with different approaches to fashion, these talented individuals represent a vivid demonstration of the wide range of possibilities allowed by Dow XLA elastic fiber,” said Juan-Carlos Cuadrado, global business director at DFS. “This is an exciting start, full of promise for the future.”

Dow’s fabric partners with the new fiber include Arco Textiles, Avelana, Cotonificio Albini, Decouvelaere, Drescafil, Emanuel Lang, F.M. Hämmerle, KBC Manufaktur, Tejidos Royo and Textil Santanderina.

Victor de Souza, designing out of New York for the past eight years, had never used stretch in his collection before discovering XLA.

“My feeling was that stretch always made clothing look cheap,” he said. “But when I got samples using the XLA fiber from Dow, they just looked like non-stretch wovens, which was fabulous because you can design something and not have to alter it to fit the concept of stretch in. It doesn’t ruin the sophistication of certain fabrics.”

Alistair Carr, who has had his own collection for two seasons, also agreed that working with stretch fibers in the past proved to be difficult.

“My experience has been that the result is a finish that’s not up to the level that I like,” he said. “The XLA fiber sews like a dream and it presses great, as well. It’s a softer stretch, so it goes straight back into shape. So depending on what fabric it is woven into, it’s perfect for many different things.”

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