PARIS — Pascaline Wilhelm, fashion director at Première Vision, Europe’s top fabric fair, tells buyers to be on the lookout for fabrics with strong texture and interesting weaving techniques at the upcoming edition of the show here. PV’s fashion guru took time to speak with WWD about this season’s trends.
WWD: So, Pascaline, what are the standout trends for fall-winter 2005?
Wilhelm: Fantasy and texture. For example, mills have found new ways to work tweed, which continues to be a big trend. The mills have achieved texture by mixing giant threads with smaller ones. I would say there’s a real emphasis on threads; the season is very wool-centered.
WWD: You’re saying weaving techniques have moved forward?
Wilhelm: Absolutely. The mixing of threads makes the fabrics appear more sumptuous. The mills are doing complicated things with structure and the result is very visual and graphic.
Weaving is in the spotlight and technology has taken a huge step forward. But mills are using their savoir faire in the service of decoration; the technology is almost invisible. Bulky threads, for example, are ultralightweight. There are a lot of supersoft fabrics. It makes for exceptional and highly personalized products. And there’s a depth in the decoration. Don’t expect to see only one visual flourish.
WWD: Do you think sports-influenced fabrics have run their course?
Wilhelm: Not exactly. The sports trend is still there, but it’s found new life. With the fabrics this season, the look will be more structured. For instance, there’s superfine and superdense denim that is suited to draping. It’s still sporty, but it’s chicer.
WWD: Does that mean the fabrics are more obviously luxurious?
Wilhelm: I don’t call it luxury. I call it generosity. The decoration is very discreet and the colors are often tone-on-tone, but with subtle texture. You have to really look at a fabric to understand everything that’s going on. The flourishes can be very understated.
WWD: What can we expect in terms of colors?
Wilhelm: There’s a lot of gray. Are we seeing the comeback of gray? I think it’s too early to say. But, in general, there’s still a lot of color out there.
The new palette runs the gamut from brights to more sober neutrals. There’s a lot of orange, mauve and violet. Sometimes it’s just the texture of the fabric that gives the impression of a color pattern, making a solid more than an old-fashioned solid. It’s almost as if there aren’t any solids. There are novelty fabrics with fun, lighthearted decoration, but they’re not hippie-themed.
WWD: So the trends are clear-cut this season?
Wilhelm: As always, there’s not only one trend. On the other hand, yes, the trends are very evident this season, clearer than in recent seasons. When you look at a fabric, for instance, you see that it’s made for one type of look, one type of garment. In the past, we’ve seen fabrics that can be suited to many different garments. Today, a fabric seems predestined for a type of garment.
WWD: Why is that?
Wilhelm: It’s a strategic choice at the mills. Fabric companies have decided to concentrate on their specialties and to do it well. It’s a good decision. They are no longer trying to replicate the fabrics of the competition just because they’re in fashion. Each fabric seems to be made for a certain type of silhouette.
WWD: What type of silhouettes can we expect to see, judging from the fabrics?
Wilhelm: I think the clothes will be more designed and more constructed. The silhouettes will be straighter and more graphic.
WWD: Other thoughts?
Wilhelm: I’m optimistic because of the generosity of touch and the strong visual aspect in these fabrics. It makes for a very strong statement.
— Robert Murphy