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CERNOBBIO, Italy — In an effort to jump-start their slipping sales, Como-area silk producers rolled out elegant and luxurious fabrics for the fall 2004-winter 2005 season at the recent Ideacomo trade fair.

This story first appeared in the November 11, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Classic florals, both printed and jacquard, and geometric prints were popular at the fair, which wrapped up its three-day run at the Villa Erba on Lake Como on Oct. 10. There was a notable absence of color among the collections, with black, white and black and white leading fashion looks.

Exhibitors showed transparent and semitransparent silks, enhanced with velvet appliqués, as well as gold-thread floral outlines and thin gold pinstripes or bands of gold creating visual interest on black crepe. The fabrics on display came in a range of textures and finishes, from fine-count yarns with delicate finishes that suggested a butterfly’s wings to grainy weaves that resembled shafts of wheat.

For eveningwear the Como weavers pulled out all the stops.

The collection at Bluinblu emphasized texture, with white wool-and-silk blends coming with slubs and twists that the light color seemed to emphasize. The collection also included black-and-white geometric prints, both large and small, on silks and silk-blend fabrics. Gabriella Facchetti, who manages the line, said a key evening look included a group of intense red floral patterns, some of which had a touch of silver for shine.

Ambrogio Bonfanti, an executive with Coquille, a Milan-based company that produces high fashion looks for women, was shopping the Bluinblu stand. He said he was pleased by the soft, fluid geometric prints in black and white and textured black fabrics.

“The market has changed,” he said. “It is hard to sell new ideas but you need new ideas in order to sell. It’s sort of like a dog chasing its tail. The only alternative is to concentrate on quality.”

The collection at GdA focused on quality and glamour, showing fabrics with touches of gold, delicate flower prints, innovative geometric designs and textured finishes. Owner and designer Georgio d’Angeli also offered some fabrics with touches of rust, blue and gold that evoked the work of Renaissance painters.

Renaissance colors and dramatic patterns were also key to the collections at Etro, Luigi Verga and Roberto Fantoccoli. Those vendors showed fluid fabrics with romantic designs with clouds of chiaroscuro, florals, geometric prints, stripes and plaids. Sequins, embroidery and Lurex added glitter to some fabrics. The collections also featured fabrics with classic black and white prints.

But not everyone was riding the geometric trail.

“We are a very classic house,” said Maurizio Pezzotti, an executive at Effepierre. His silk collection included Scottish tweed, herringbone tweed and variations of a glen plaid. The color palette followed the company’s traditional deep tones.

The Italian Fashion System released statistics on the silk industry at the show revealing a 10 percent drop in second-quarter sales for women’s wear, men’s wear and accessories, though the IFS noted sales in the women’s apparel market were not quite as soft as those in other categories.

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