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NEW YORK — Consumers will be on the lookout for bright colors for the spring-summer 2005 retail season, according to a recent Cotton Incorporated trend forecast.

This story first appeared in the July 6, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“Consumers need to feel an attachment to what they buy,” said Kathryn Novakovic, Cotton Inc.’s director of fashion marketing.

To that end, Novakovic showed a plethora of new ideas in seven color groups and five fabric groups for the season.

“Overall, the color palettes for this season range from playful and optimistic summer brights reminiscent of seaside getaways, to nostalgic optical blacks and whites with retro twists,” she said. “We see color getting continually brighter and more vivid, and softer shades blending with darker colors in the palette.”

In terms of fabric, she added, surface interest is enhancing and enriching color while adding dimension and depth.

“Look for dimensional patterning and functional finishes in shirtings, cottons blended with high tech fibers and puckered and multicolored seersuckers,” she added. “Also important are clean, crisp and sturdy fabrics, such as canvas and twill, vibrant prints, lighter-weight denims with cleaner appearances and discreet linear patterns.”

For color, the seven groups were: Boardwalk, Mel’s Diner, Al Fresco, Sturdy Elements, Victorian Enchantment, Tribal Hybrid and Bait & Tackle.

In Boardwalk, the palette was inspired by sun-splashed beaches, rainbow confections and boldly printed umbrellas. “It’s an upbeat and lively group,” said Novakovic.

Colors here include Sandcastle, Red Wagon, Powdered Sugar and Sunshine. Mel’s Diner focuses on a vintage feel with its colors. “They’re nostalgic, warm and slightly faded,” she added. Grease, Seltzer, Peach Cobbler and Bottle Green are just some of the tones.

Al Fresco’s palette is inspired by dining outdoors under the sky. The group is dominated by vibrant greens and moody blues, with colors such as a mossy Everglade, a grassy Fresh Cut and a navy Starry Night. Sturdy Elements, meanwhile, features a palette inspired by traditional and dependable classic tones that include red, indigo, silver and two tones of beige, one called Burlap and the other Straw.

“This group shows the basic building blocks of any wardrobe,” said Novakovic.

Victorian Enchantments takes its cue from fairy-tale watercolors.

“This soothing palette is dominated by soft pastels grounded in saturated shades of wine,” she said.

Colors include Tea Rose, Citrine and Port, which Novakovic said weighs the other colors down. Tribal Hybrid is a mix of several ethnic cultures and heritages that produces a varied palette. Here, tropical tones dominate with colors such as a turquoise Masquerade, Avocado, Purple Lotus and Orchid.

The final color group, Bait & Tackle, centers on escapism. It is dominated by energized brights — Night Crawler, a fluorescent yellow; Caution, a bright orange, and Goldfish, an acidy, neon yellow orange — with softer tones such as a blue-silver Stream and a brownish Rubberband.

As for fabric trends, the five groups were: Homegrown, Read Between the Lines, Heavy Metal, Peak Performance and Fancy Pants.

Homegrown fabrics reflect vintage sensibilities with a variety of raw and rustic looks. Vegetal-dyed natural blends such as cotton and linen or cotton and hemp are included, as are washed-down effects, highly textured knits, unfinished edges and mixed weaves.

Read Between the Lines is a sophisticated take on great summer basics such as stripe shirtings, seersuckers and novelty knits. “It’s all about the Ladies Who Lunch and the Men Who Brunch,” said Novakovic.

For Heavy Metal, crisp, clean and sturdy looks feature subtle shimmer and embellishment.

“Look for highly mercerized fabrics for molten sheen and metallic threads and accents for opalescence, sparkle and glitter,” she added.

Peak Performance is athletic inspired, with breathability, moisture wicking, protection from ultraviolet rays and anti-microbial finishes being key. Examples include terry cloth, sculptured and patterned knits, piqués, mesh textures and fleece blends with a light pile.

The final fabric trend, Fancy Pants, centers on bottomweights. Compactly structured fabrics with lots of surface interest are important and include refined twills, bleached effects, lightweight and cleaner denims, discreet linear patterns and combination weaves and embossed cords, both of which add a shot of substance and depth.