NEW YORK — Apparel makers and designers were looking for new textures and lightweight novelties, especially sheers, as they arrived early Tuesday at the opening day here of Texitalia and Jardins d’Elegance, the Italian and French fabric shows of spring-summer 1995 fabrics.

By 11 a.m., exhibitors, housed on the 12th floor of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, reported that their showrooms were taking on a lively look.

Forty-four Italian companies, including 16 from a consortium of shirting manufacturers, and seven French exhibitors, will be here until Thursday at 6 p.m., when the shows close. Among the early visitors was designer Michael Leva, who had viewed several collections and gave a special nod to Europ Marchini.

“I loved the colors and the beautiful textures,” he said. “There were lots of sheers that were in different shades — peach, orange, the greens and blues. They were clear colors that were not too harsh. The collection was classic and young, and I’m going to order fabrics from there.”

Leva said he liked the two shows because fabric shopping trips to Europe were prohibitively expensive.

Lloyd Williams, designer of Williams for Williams, better blouse and sportswear and dress manufacturer here, said he came to see overall trends and was particularly interested in pleating and textures.

Exhibitor Claude A.C. Corbiere, president of Cortex, Marcy L’Etoile, France, showed Williams the firm’s new polyester waterfall crinkle, Cascade, which Corbiere said was selling well in Europe. Also new was an accordion polyester plisse which Corbiere said can be delivered stitched on both sides and in any skirt or dress length requested by a manufacturer.

Gil Aimbez, designer of Dana Buchman Dresses, division of Liz Claiborne, was accompanied by Diana Palmer, who does dress textile research and development. They had just visited Gartex SpA and took some numbers.

They said they found a number of interesting textures and lightweight and drapey looks. The pair also said Orsenigo had beautiful rayon and acetate fabrics.

“We’ll be ordering fabrics from the Italians and the French, that’s for sure,” Aimbez said.

“The whole place is very inspirational,” added Palmer.

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