NEW YORK — Tencel highlighted four fabric directions for spring-summer 2003 at its most recent Global Fabric Fair: Whitened and Washed, Rustic, Gleaming and Freedom of Movement.

This story first appeared in the June 25, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“There’s still a move toward looks that offer a level of individuality,” said Sandy MacLennan, international trend consultant for the lyocell maker. “New ideas continue to be interpreted in different ways and the overload of information and images we’ve been exposed to over the last few seasons are finally being broken down so that they make sense.”

While the Whitened and Washed trend pertains mostly to denim and denim looks, it will also be seen on other grounds, such as voile. MacLennan contended that is probably the most important direction, because “it can be used across all markets.”

“It’s already everywhere and I feel strongly that it will continue into next year. Anything that offers an interesting contrast is key,” he said. As a result of that, he advocated using treatments and finishes on a variety of looks.

“Some are painted, printed or sun-washed, while others are really pale, almost optic,” he said. “It’s a way to personalize a classic color.”

In the Rustic group, MacLennan showed fabrics ranging from seersucker, which he said is a way to reinterpret the pretty floral trend of late, to microtextures such as herringbone, bird’s-eye and slub looks in linen and natural blends.

Iridescence, either through the use of coatings and finishes or special yarns, played a key role in his Gleaming trend, which featured both plain and patterned fabrics.

“It’s important here that the look is subtle, no obvious glitz,” he said. “It’s a way to glam up summer without going overboard.”

Comfort, noted MacLennan, continues to be important, which is where the Freedom of Movement trend comes in. “Stretch fabrics are the norm now, it’s something that consumers expect to find,” he said. Tencel Natural Stretch, he added, “allows you to have all the qualities of Tencel with the added benefit of stretch.”

In addition to fabric trends, MacLennan also touched on colors for the new season. He showed five groups: Duo, Cooled, Arid, Sculpture and Joie de Vivre.

Duo was a collection of 10 soft pastels that included a range of neutrals with sandy, blue and gray tones. Slightly milky and bare in cast, the colors were graded and paired together according to hue.

Cooled featured a range of midtones with a glossy, slightly pearlized, soft iridescence to them. Beginning with gray, stark white and a slatelike blue, the range also included a light celadon, chocolate brown, a deep lavender and a mossy green.

The colors in Arid were very dry and dense. The group had an artisanal feeling with an emphasis on strong hues inspired by nature. Included were browns, greens and terra-cottas. MacLennan said the accent color, a deep, almost-midnight blue, is “going to be so important going forward.”

Sculpture, a collection of basic darker shades such as charcoal gray, black and dark brown, was highlighted by a brighter, cobalt blue.

Lastly, Joie de Vivre, the brightest of all the groups, was both extroverted and playful in feel. Bright yellows and pinks were accompanied by a soft caramel, a pale, almost white, blue and a coral red.”

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