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Knitting / Apparel

Opulence And Originality For Fall 2005

Soft touches, sparkling surfaces highlight Fall/Winter 2005-06 fabric collections.

Virginia S. Borland, New York Correspondent

A ttendance of US buyers at the most recent Première Vision in Paris was up by more than 16 percent. Buyers looking for something special had a lot of choices. With more than 700 fabric companies from 23 nations showing new lines for Fall/Winter 2005-06, there was novelty in every sector.

Jakob Schlaepfer added sequins, crystals, feathers and silk flowers to its Fall/Winter 2005-06 fabrics.

Rustic Wools With A Soft Touch

In the wool sector, fabrics are ultra-light, fine and silky; or rustic in appearance. Paramount Lansul S.A.,  Brazil, introduced Silk Touch, a line of extra-fine merino wool fabrics that have a soft hand, subtle sheen and superb drape. Aimed at the men's suit market, fabrics are available in classic patterns woven on the woolen or worsted system. Along with 100-percent wool, there are blends with cashmere, cotton, viscose and Lycra®. Super Wash 100-percent wool fabrics are machine washable. Other fabrics are water- and stain-repellent.

In the past five years, Paramount has invested $51 million in its factories. In 2003, this fully integrated company had earnings of $100 million. Annual exports to the United States currently total 500,000 meters. The company expects to raise this to about 1 million meters of quality wool fabrics in the future.

Reid & Taylor, Scotland, has taken a focused approach with its collection. Going back to its archives, the company has updated the worsted qualities it is known for, giving them a lighter touch using Super 120 merino wool. Fabrics are available with a crushed finish that is soft but not hairy. Lambswool jacketweight fabrics in classic patterns weigh in at about 200 grams per meter.

Three other Scottish mills are selling fabrics with a refined rustic quality. At Calzeat & Co. Ltd., there are graphic jacquards and tapestry-type panels that can be engineered to any length.

Lochcarron is showing traditional tartans woven in Shetland wool and embellished with slub, bouclé and tinsel yarns. Honeycomb and basket weaves of 100-percent cashmere at Johnstons of Elgin have a casual, rustic look and soft touch. Many are going into unlined jackets.

At Loro Piana S.p.A., Italy, there are rustic-looking double-faced coatings of pure cashmere in Shetland colors, and suitweight fabrics containing 2-percent Lycra for comfort. Cotton/cashmere corduroy has been washed to give it a sporty look.

Gartex International S.p.A., Italy, has washed wools, stretch puckered jacquards and ethnic retro patterns. Nubby tweeds in black, white and gray come with or without Lurex®. Most are woven in wool blends. There also are are silk-blend velvets with crinkled or hairy surfaces and stretch.

Several French companies in the wool sector are showing Chanel-styled tweeds. At AJM France, a supplier to Chanel, there are shaggy tweeds, small dimensional patterned tweeds in black and white, and tweeds woven using thick and thin yarns and a lot of texture. Basket weaves are embellished with embroidery in swirling circle patterns. One fabric is fringe-encrusted.

At Isoule Textile, there are white ground tweeds with splashes of strong color. Decathalo S.A. has chunky silk/wool basket weaves, Donegals and washed wools. Coatings in small jacquard patterns are soft with the addition of cashmere or angora.


Fashion And Technology For Knitted Fabrics

High tech is combined with high fashion in the knitwear sector. Tissage de l'Aigle, France, has created ultra-soft polar fleece of 100-percent wool available in a wide range of solid colors, stripes, abstract designs and company logos. Another development, Sunwinner, is a group of double fabrics knitted with Coolmax® or Thermolite® that transport moisture, are flameproof and help the body maintain a comfortable temperature.

Louis Vidon, France, has created a line of lingerie and sleepwear fabrics that are antibacterial, temperature-regulating and moisturizing. They are silky to the touch and have a subtle luster. All contain natural fibers. There are blends of cotton/SeaCell®, viscose/Crabyon (a fiber made from crab shells) and bamboo/cotton. Some contain aloe vera; others, silver.

Other French knitters presented sophisticated lines that go from day to evening. At Guigou, there are featherweight jerseys and subtle metallic effects that have a silky touch, drape and sheen. At Billon Frères, there are yarn-dyed tweeds knitted with bouclé yarns, mohair or metallic fibers. Reptile- and animal-skin patterned jacquards, lacy crochet knits, and retro Missoni styles continue.

Marioboselli Jersey, Italy, presented continuous-filament viscose jersey and metallic jacquards. There are boiled wool knits that can be cut and require no seam finishing.

Jackytex, Italy, has cashmere/silk, and wool/mohair that has been brushed for a warm touch. There are soft-hand metallic laces, velvet jacquards treated with special effects and thick chenille yarns knitted in open patterns.

Fashion And Performance For Sportswear

New developments in the sportswear sector stress performance, comfort and fashion. At Cotton Incorporated, Cary, N.C., a technical team showed yarns, fabrics and finishes  created to enhance the versatility of cotton. Eike Heymer, director, fabric development and research implementation, said customers are saying, "Bring the weight down." Innovative treatments appropriate for sweaters, sheers, bottomweights and outerwear are new this season.

Novelty yarns shown by Cotton Incorporated are lustrous with a cool touch. "We're doing more with mercerized yarns for a dressier look," Heymer said. There are spaced-dyed yarns, cationic-treated yarns, and s- and z-twist yarns for pucker and stretch. Along with 100-percent cotton, there are blends with cashmere, camel hair, angora and spandex. Some of the fabrics in Heymer's collection include terry cloth decorated with tinsel yarns, sheared velours, corduroy, chunky sweater knits and stone-dyed denim that has a marbleized look.

Nathan Miller, manager, technical services, dyeing and finishing research, noted some of the treatments Cotton Incorporated is developing. Top priority is wrinkle-resistant cotton. Stain resist/release, abrasion resistance and waterproofing are others. Laser treatments for etching denim and corduroy are another idea.

UCO Textiles, a denim producer with facilities in Belgium and Rockingham, N.C., is using pure indigo dyes. Bart Van de Woestyne, president and COO, said these give a slightly red cast to denim. "The color is brighter and only slightly faded," he added. Ten-ounce denim woven with finer yarns and stretch is popular. Other denims are woven with slubs or uneven yarns to give a vintage look. Along with cotton, there are blends with Tencel™ and naturally colored FoxFibre® cotton.

Komatsu Seiren Co. Ltd., Japan, is focusing on special treatments for man-mades. Depending upon the end-use, the same fabric can have a soft, dry, paper or silky hand. Most of its fabrics are woven of polyester - all have an agreeable touch. There are polyurethane-laminated materials that have the look and feel of leather, suede or patent leather.

Schoeller Textil AG, Switzerland, is expanding its soft-shell line of breathable; water-, stain- and soil-repellent fabrics. Some are double-faced and bonded. Fabric faces reverse from matte to shine, fleece to twill, or satin to poplin. Some are woven or knitted with wool/nylon on the face and cotton on the back. One fabric of note is weft-stretch cotton with Schoeller's 3XDRY® finish. Metal-content fabrics have made a big comeback. Some are embossed, while others are glazed and transparent or have ombre shadings.

Old Is New For Print Designs

Newly styled paisleys, skin prints, abstracts and ethnics are among the popular themes for printed fabrics. Some are printed on tweed, lace, mesh or corduroy. Others are flocked or burned out. Metal prints and prints on metal are of special interest. England-based Liberty is printing on its Tana lawn, jersey, twill and Kingly cord - a new corduroy base cloth. Print stories include tapestry details, patterns that resemble fragmented porcelain and stained glass, bold geometrics and classic Liberty designs.

Miroglio S.p.A., Italy, presented tweed prints and prints on tweed. Other popular base cloths are silk crepon and twill, nylon lace and knitted mesh. Patchwork paisleys are richly colored, sometimes with a splash of metallic gold.

Glitter And Gloss For Printed Silks

Modern art, the glitter of sequins, warp-printed taffeta and newly colored and scaled paisleys are what the Lyon and Como silk weavers are showing for Fall. A best seller at  Mantero Seta S.p.A., Italy, is an enormous paisley in lime green printed on turquoise and coated with metallic lacquer. A pink Persian floral/paisley printed on chiffon coordinates with wool jacquard.

Ratti S.p.A., Italy, is showing a lot of innovation in all of its divisions. Ratti's Braghenti division is styling fabrics for accessories markets. New this season for bags and luggage are handwoven leathers layered with mohair and overprinted, thick metallic matelassés and leather/plastic/ribbon combinations. There are double-faced jacket fabrics with silk reversing to T-400 elastic fiber. There are coated jacquards and wrinkle surfaces that have a slightly hard touch. According to owner Donatella Ratti, "We're going back to our archives for inspiration, combining old techniques with new technology and good taste."

Tweeds at Ratti's Ramis division are woven with thick wool yarns, gold and ribbons. There are metallic jacquards, waffle surfaces and wool stripes covered in paillettes. Ratti Uomo is a new division that has created fabrics for men's shirts, ties and scarves. There are cotton shirtings that feel like silk, silk/cotton jacquards, ultra-fine printed cotton corduroys and paisley designs on silk/cashmere.

Bianchini Ferier, France, has expanded its line of modern art-inspired patterns. These are selling on chiffon and satin. Elongated flowers and shiny stripes are other popular designs.

Masters of Linen, Paris, exhibited fabrics in pastel shades.

Opulence And Fantasy In The Silk Sector

According to François Damide, head of France-based Solstiss S.A.'s American sales office, geometric patterns are outselling flowers, and lime green with pink is a popular color combination. Cobweb patterns and mesh are heavily encrusted with sequins and beads. Some of the laces are woven with metallic yarns.

Silk jacquard weaver Bucol, France, also showed a lot of gold. It turned up with bright or pastel shades on fluid satins, puffy matelassés and nubby tweeds. Large-scale paisleys and flowers and mini allover abstracts are among the best sampling patterns. Swirling circles and wavy stripes are brightly colored.

Fantasy jacquards at France-based AB Creations by Fabien Doligez are woven in silk or wool and splashed with metal. There are puckered stretch plaid taffetas and double-faced jacquards with crushed surfaces or with novelty yarns running through them. Tweeds have an Old World look and are decorated with shiny and bouclé yarns.

Jacquards at Europ-Marchini S.r.l., Italy, are so realistic in detail they look like photographs. Computer equipment in the company's design studio is connected to looms in its factory. Patterns range from lifelike portraits and decorative flowers to large, bold abstracts.

Two silk sector exhibitors, Jakob Schlaepfer and Weisbrod-Zuerrer AG, both based in Switzerland, have created application treatments on fabrics for every occasion. At Jakob Schlaepfer, nubby tweeds are decorated with dangling crystals, sequins and feathered fringe. Airy silk chiffons have ribbons running through them or are encrusted with crystal beads. Silk flowers appliquéd to chiffon and organza have sequin centers.

Weisbrod-Zuerrer takes fantasy to the limits. Sequins, beads, embroideries and application treatments are on everything, from satin jacquards, net and velvet to tweeds and denims. Net is embroidered with mohair and tinsel yarns. There are twills overlaid with space-dyed yarns and sequined circles, glazed surfaces pleated in two directions, and circles of mohair embroidered on silky surfaces.

December 2004