NEW YORK — Gradations of color and textures — rather than sharp contrasts — will key spring 1995 fabrics and apparel.

This was one of the major points made by Monsanto’s color consultant, Phil Shroff, at a series of recent workshops at Monsanto’s sales office here, attended by about 50 apparel manufacturers, designers and retailers.

Softened midtones will be the leading spring colors, Shroff said.

“Tangerine replaces last fall’s orange, geranium and coral replace red, royal with a purple cast replaces royal blue, and chartreuse replaces jade,” he said.

“The new updated colors are supported with turquoise, deep lavender and sunflower yellow, which can be combined with the important neutral grays and beiges on the palette.

“In the same layered ensemble, you will see a movement from delicate, soft and sensuous to crisp, crinkle and rustic,” Shroff continued. “You will also see a mixture of fabrics and motifs in basic, primitive, distressed, refined and futuristic themes, providing tremendous opportunities for creative and unconventional looks in apparel.”

The groups of colors, whach are presented in the new ombre gradation, allow designers to select a variety of casts, shades and hues.

The palette reflects fashion’s paradoxes, where a consumer wants to buy something new, but she wants it to look old, Shroff said.

“She wants color, but she wants it to look faded or washed out. She wants long and short, and casual and refined,” he said. “Fashion is in a buoyant state of orderly disorder.”