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Knitting / Apparel

A First Look At Fabrics For 2002

European Preview exhibitors respond to demands of American market.

A First Look At Fabrics For 2002 European Preview exhibitors respond to demands of American market. For the second time, European Preview presented a selection of quality fabrics to American designers and manufacturers in New York City, prior to the Premiere Vision salon in Paris. Again, the reactions of buyers and sellers was unanimous; it is an invaluable working tool.According to Daniel Faure, chairman, Premiere Vision, the quality of exchange and collaboration initiated between Old World exhibitors and North American buyers has enabled weavers to tailor their work more specifically to the demands of the American market. There were 148 exhibitors from nine European countries at the most recent show.As at Premiere Vision, European Preview is organized according to fabric type, with producers of linens, knits, prints, silks, denims and sportswear fabrics divided into sectors. For Spring/Summer 2002, there continues to be interest in linen, with a lot of variety in this area. Some of the new linens are blended with other fibers. Many are washable, crease-resistant and high-performance. Performance LinensAt the Belgian firm Libeco-Lagae, linen weaving has increased 30 percent in the last year and is running at full capacity. Sales to the United States are strong. Along with 100-percent linen, there are blends with silk, Tactel® nylon or modal. Classic twills and herringbones, and yarn-dyed patterns are popular. A new Madras was pointed out. There are delaves, aero finishes with a soft hand and wrinkle-resistant resin finishes. New are pucker stretch yarn dyes and color-reverse bonded gauzes.Italian weaver Solbiati is showing linen/cupro blends with a slick appearance and soft hand. There is glitter here with a touch of nylon or metal, and there are high-twist crepe weaves in 100-percent linen or blends with viscose. Stripes with relief surfaces, twills, sateens and burlap weaves are popular. There are washed finishes and rubbery, coated fabrics for outerwear.Another Italian company, Linea Tessile Italiana, sold here through Stacey Horne Textile, is printing on linen crepe gauze, sateen, wild silk/viscose and linen/nylon blends. There are thick-and-thin woven stripes, metallic stripes and linen fabrics embroidered with metal or straw. Elastic yarns embroidered on fabrics create puckered stretch.Hauterives line was 30 percent ready. Early customer reactions will help in styling the remainder of the line. Noteworthy new fabrics at this French firm include cloques with Lycra® having the look of knitted fabrics. There are eyelash-striped jacquards, linen/copper reversible gauzes and a double cloth with a pleated and knotted patterned face. Hauterive is available through Chantal Fabrics in New York.For summer, many woolen mills switch to linen. Their lines generally have a classic look. At de Cathalo, there are yarn-dyed stripes and checks, crushed linens and crepes. Picchi has lightweight yarn dyes with comfort stretch, classic weaves with a touch of a metallic yarn and Lycra, and blends of linen with Tencel®, viscose or nylon. At Milior, there are denims and jacquards. Novelty DenimsVertical French denim producer Bonduel, available through Nuvotex, is showing linen/cotton dyed and pigment-printed denims. Novelty denims in this line range in weight and hand. There are shimmering stretch denims in cotton/Lurex®/Lycra, color-reverse, double-faced denims, printed denims and abstract emerized patterns on denim.Milag, also represented by Nuvotex, is showing quartz-printed stretch denims, as well as flock-patterned and glitter-coated denims. Other fabrics have been styled for activewear and beachwear. There are quartz-printed polyester/Lycra knits; acetate/nylon/elastane jacquards; and printed, pleated polyester voiles and mesh.Gera Gallico, who heads up Billon Freres New York office, showed glitter-printed knitted denim. There are metallic stripes, jacquards with pigtails and fish net in this line, and a large selection of prints on nylon/ elastane for swimwear. Gallico said the major portion of the line will be shown at Premiere Vision.Italian knitter Dondi is using cotton, silk and viscose for summer. For activewear, there is a new cotton/silk knit with a chintz look. There are logo jacquards, open-crochet knits and meshes. Stripes Are PopularIn the print sector, tropicals, retro florals and diagonal stripes are the beginning of Miroglios line. Komar is showing camouflage prints, wavy stripes, monotones and florals. Popular base cloths include stretch cotton, cotton satin and viscose matte jersey. Oasis sells this line in New York. 
The British firm Liberty has several new print base cloths to complement their ever-popular Tana lawn. There is cotton/Lycra jersey, a new linen weave and silk. According to Ed Harding of Barn Hill, agent for Liberty, at $12 per meter, we are competitive in printed silk.Showing the print line, Harding said, the range murmurs rather than shrieks Liberty. There are mixes of florals and geometrics in vibrant colors, small conversationals, new paisleys, stripes and a play on ginghams.Sedera is showing novelty stripes, geometrics and monotone stylized roses. Agent Ken Kassover of Nuvotex said that crepes and georgettes are the best-selling base cloths. New for spring is cotton stretch with a moving optic pattern. Double shantung is shown in solid shades and jacquard patterns.Technea, which is part of the Groupe Chamatex, has been selling in the United States for two years through European Fabric Resource. Fabric prices range from $3 to $7 per meter. New for spring are light, blouse-weight fabrics woven with a new texturized polyester from Unifi called Extensa, which has unique stretch and recover properties. Samples shown were woven in blends with cotton or viscose and provide 20-percent stretch. Luxury SilksIn the silk sector, the French company Bianchini Ferier is showing denim-look silk twill. There are no- repeat plaids in acrylic/nylon/elastane blends that caught the eyes of buyers. Fitzsimmons Fabrics handles this line in New York.Swiss silk weaver Weisbrod Zuerrer, handled here by Filtex International, is also into luxe denim. It is shown with a soft hand, a touch of Lurex, and suggested for use with lace. The line is both feminine and sporty, with a lot of glitter for evening, but not too flashy, said Khaled Bouharrour, design and product manager.Weisbrod Zuerrer is showing very light and airy dry-touch gauze, jacquards in feather patterns, tone-on-tone embroideries, stretch plisses, and a group of fabrics described as elegant rustics. Some are woven of 100-percent silk; others are blends of linen/nylon. There are a lot of stripes in bright summer colors.French silk weaver Bucol is also into stripes for summer. Some are large and woven in tonal colors in silk taffeta. Other summer taffetas have eyelash fringe. There are organzines with metallic clipped jacquard patterns and bright warp prints.Frans Damide, president, Solstiss/Perrin USA, agent for Bucol, noted that the revival of their coupe de velour au sabre is so successful that they are bringing back other Old World techniques. The newest is water-repellent oxidized silk, which was developed by accident in China two centuries ago.When China was invaded, silk weavers buried fabrics to prevent theft. When the invaders left and Chinese silk weavers dug up their cloth, it was wet from recent floods. They laid the silk on the ground to dry in sun- and moonlight. The fabric oxidized, resulting in black cloth with a crisp, dry hand.Today Bucol is repeating this process on silk twill. The only finishing process is burial in China, where minerals in the soil produce the desired black color and fabric touch. Fabrics are sun- and moon-dried. They sell for about $50 per meter.The next European Preview will take place in New York City in July.

May 2001