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MILAN — Despite a turbulent 2002 for the textile industry, there was no sign of the Italian fabric manufacturers slowing down at this month’s Moda In. Mills continued to churn out new technological and fashion ideas in an effort to stimulate consumer interest at a time of economic slowdown.

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

Trends shown for the spring-summer 2004 season included jacquards and prints with ethnic motifs and Oriental designs, transparent nylons, polyester and light cotton blends for lingerie and treated cottons. Colors revolved around a vintage look and feel, with nudes, pinks and many shades of green and blue.

At the Limonta stand, stiff silks hung next to cotton crepes and a new fabric created using fibers made from bamboo and wool.

Other Italian exhibitors concentrated on fabric finishing. Pinato Tessuti SpA La Panamà buys cotton fabric from Pakistan and the Far East and finishes it, adding color and feel. The company experienced a 40 percent increase in production in 2002 and based its spring-summer 2004 collection around two vintage satin corsets found at a Parisian antique market.

Pinato Tessuti’s soft cottons attracted buyers from Armani Exchange.

“This is technologically advanced cotton, with great finishes and interesting weaves; it is really directional with fantastic color sense — we like the way a lot of thought goes into the hand feel,” said an Armani buyer, who declined to be named.

American buyer Mimi Levitas, of The Focus Design Group, a contract buying service with clients including Diane Von Furstenberg, Fatigues and Helly Hansen, said she came to Moda In especially for the Italian sense of fabric direction.

“I’m attracted to the laundered silks, and cotton and nylon for Diane Von Furstenberg,” Levitas said. “I like Nero su Nero because all of the fabrics work together and it is easy from a designer’s point of view to see a collection in the one stand.”

Lanificio Becagli offered feel-good fabrics, including polyester fleece, velour and knits.

Innovation prevailed in the range of fabrics at Star Stampa Tessuti Artistici SpA.

Director Claudio Salvadé said the mill’s machinery had been modified to produce full-color processing and photo-image print fabrics. He attributed his company’s 22 percent sales increase in 2002 to this new technique.

Despite complaints from some vendors about the timing — the three-day show wrapped up on Feb. 11 in Fiera Milano, before the start of Première Vision — attendance was up 5 percent from last spring’s staging.

After finishing production of some fabrics a few hours before opening time Mauro Clerici, president of Nero su Nero, said his company had struggled to make the deadline.

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