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Knitting / Apparel

A Season Of Hybrids

Spring/Summer 2000 focuses on blends at Premiere Vision in Paris.

A Season Of Hybrids Spring/Summer 2000 focuses on blends at Premiere Vision in Paris. With comfort and performance the continuing criteria, merger mania has hit apparel fabrics. The demand is for fabrics that have the look and feel of natural fibers with the performance and easy care of synthetics. The first summer of the new millennium sees a marriage of nature and technology and the creation of natural performance fabrics. 

In Paris at the recent Premiere Vision fabric show 834 exhibitors from 14 European countries showed new products and lines to nearly 40,000 potential buyers. There were 2,033 Americans in attendance.Flax was the fiber in most evidence. Generally it is blended to give fabrics a linen look, dry hand and easy care. A lot of the linen content fabrics shown are sheer, soft, drapey, washable, wrinkle free, and have a novel surface or application treatment. Heavy weight linens are patterned, coated, rustic surfaced or indigo dyed.French designer Michel Malard said: Linen has never been so strong. Especially important are linen mixes with silk, viscose or cotton, as long as the fabrics look like linen. Linen Is RevampedJean-Yves Alombert, the new Fashion Director of Premiere Vision, selected Hybrids as the over-all theme of the show. In fashion today, fabrics are in the forefront, he said. The aesthetic quality of a fabric is tied intimately to its use.Alombert reviewed exhibitors lines and made a small selection of fabrics which he feels are the most directional for the new season. His choices were put into eight categories, which he calls his secret box. Linen is one trend.Its not basic, linen has been revamped, he said, showing double-faced linens reversing color and texture, wrinkle-free linens with a lot of bounce, and soft-hand, stretch, knitted linen with a slick surface.Seersucker is another story, with cloques and plisses in linen/viscose blends, crinkled double gauze and opaque/sheer relief surfaces. Alomberts selection called Intangible includes sandwich cloths with floating yarns between sheer layers, or plastic drops on chiffon.Performance fabrics are in a group called Sculpture. Some of these contain metallic yarns which bend, others are coated. Iridescent layered fabrics are in a category called Doubles. Another group called Paper features crisp noisy fabrics. Some of these are transparent, others are coated for a rubber touch.Embroidered and appliqued flowers and indigo dyes are in the Nature group. Many of the base fabrics are linen mixes, ranging from sheer and transparent to rough and rustic. Another group, Sleek and Flat, includes rayon knits with a cold touch and double faced stretch fabrics coated on one side.In the Irish Linen sector, new innovations at John England are linen fabrics pleated in both directions. Woven with 50-percent polyester, the pleats are permanent. Crushed surfaces, seersucker linens with exaggerated crinkles or with stretch, cationic dyes to give a washed and aged appearance, polished faces, cob web textures, gauze, discrete jacquard designs and PVC coatings on transparent linens are other novelties.A lot of Englands fabrics are washable. His range goes from transparent and airy, to heavy, thick, soft touch blanket linens. At the end of the show, England reported that his best sellers were soft, washable linens, linen/Lycra® crinkles, devorrints on linen/polyester, faded cationic dyed linens, and open sheers with high tech finishes. His two-way pleats topped the list. Seersucker LinensEmblem Weavers (Edwardia Sales Corp.) showed 100-percent linen seersuckers in a variety of weights from shirt to suit. All have a soft, dry hand, and can be machine washed and tumble dried. White-on-white seersucker patterns, iridescent sheers, linen gauze, and open-work suiting patterns in linen/silk blends are other standouts.Ulster Weavers showed 100-percent linen fabrics with a choice of finishes, crisp, easy care or laundered. Surface effects include leno weaves, shadow stripes, white-on-white patterns and burn-outs. The burn-outs are woven with wool, which is burned out with a heat treatment.Denim-look linen was strong at Moygashel. Waffle textures, thick and thin patterns, coordinating tonal patterns and iridescent linens were of special interest.Libeco - Lagae of Belgium showed several finishes on linen fabrics, including sanforized. There are sheer, open patterns in this line in blends of linen/Tactel®/cotton, herringbone suitings with a small percentage of wool, sheer crepes, sparkle and iridescent fabrics.Textile Dobert (Chantal), a Spanish firm which sells to menswear, showed wrinkle-free suiting weight linen/rayon blends. There are a lot of double-faced fabrics reversing from crinkle to flat, luster/matte, or pattern/solid. Patterns tend to be mini and nondescript. There are gauzes, crepes, and soft washed linens in this line.Linea Tessile Italiana (HorneandWeiss) has a new printing technique using oil to give a burn out look. Rustic linens in this line are irregular dyed and done with laser cut-outs.Also at Linea Tessile Italiana there are light and heavyweight indigo-dyed linens with application treatments and noisy transparent linens with a stiff papery hand. There are sandwich cloths with floating yarns, elastic embroideries, shaggy edged dots and raised stripes on sheers.Another Italian firm, Piemmeci (Francesca de Vito), has a lot of novelties such as sheer sandwich cloths with iron floating between layers. There are linen/copper blends, indigo dyes, wispy paper looks, and porous, crisp, sheer, nubbed, waterproof coated fabrics.A paper-like nonwoven fabric at Piemmeci of polyethylene has been resin coated so it can be dyed. It is soft and supple with a slick hand. Invisible pin holes give the fabric breathability. Another new fabric is a crinkle jacquard double cloth. One side is soft, the other scratchy. It is woven with viscose/nylon/copper.Hauterive (Chantal), an innovative French company, has a linen/viscose blend which is patterned with wide fringe stripes. A lightweight glen check of 100-percent linen is polyurethane coated to give it a rubber touch. Crepon linen in shades of white, bi-colored linen gauze, viscose/linen velvet weaves, subtle jacquard patterns and stretch twills are other novelties. Metal And StretchSwiss technical fabric producer Schoeller (Bartfai) combines aesthetics with function. Several seasons ago they were the first to use metal. For spring 2000 they blend it with linen and spandex. Jackets and pants on display made in linen/metal/spandex fabrics have the luster of silver, texture of linen and suppleness of spandex. Linen/spandex turned up mixed with cotton and microfibers as well.Paper-touch fabrics are made of aluminum. They can be pleated, crushed, crinkled, and given an aged look. Aluminum/polyester blends are available transparent or opaque and with a soft or crisp hand.Another new Schoeller innovation geared to activewear balances out body temperature. Called Comfor-Temp®, micro-encapsulated paraffin in a thin layer of foam stores excessive body heat, then releases it when the body chills. Originally developed for NASA, the first commercial garments will be in stores this fall.Based on the success of its expanded knit line, the Austrian firm Josef Otten (Filtex) has formed two independent companies, Josef Otten for woven fabrics, and Otten Jersey for knits. Today knits represent 40-percent of Ottens business. For next spring, both companies are committed to linen.At Josef Otten there are 100-percent linen fabrics and blends with acetate and nylon. Three finishes are offered, all are environmentally friendly. Ash linen gives the look of linen which has been bleached with ash. Ice linen has been treated at -37° C. It resists wrinkles and is washable. Soft linen has a luxurious appearance and ultra-soft hand.The strongest sellers at Otten Jersey are linen/viscose blends and Tactel nylons. Intimate apparel is a major end use area. There are metallic and sparkling effects, iridescents, slick lustered surfaces, jacquards, matte jerseys, crepes, waffles, ribs and prints. There is stretch in almost everything.Linen/cotton and linen/nylon/Lycra knits were pointed out at Marioboselli (HorneandWeiss). There is a lot of novelty here, but simplicity is what is selling. Matte jersey, mesh and undefined prints continue to command buyer's dollars. New novelties are lustered sheers with floating copper yarns, embroidered fabrics, fringes, puff prints and paper touches. To complement their silk line, Marioboselli has a line of less expensive synthetics called TWO.Mabu Jersey (Nuvotex) has a diversified line which goes into sportswear for men and women and opulent late day dressing. Twisted yarns of fine Egyptian cotton/Lycra in pique stitches or jacquard patterns were purchased by Jil Sander and Helmut Lang.American firms shopping the Mabu line were buying soft pastel and neutral shades. Open jacquard patterns, sheer/opaque stripes, and sophisticated white on white patterns were pointed out. One California firm placed a substantial order for a glitter diamond pattern. A sheer jacquard with lurex in a raised fish scale design and a sparkle tree bark pleat are other favorites. The Choice Of Danish BalletThe British firm Welbeck, specialist in knits for activewear, sold a Tactel Aquator/cot-ton/Lycra double cloth to the Royal Danish Ballet. The fabric wicks moisture, has an ultra-soft hand and a lot of movement.Another popular cloth is light, sheer and slippery in a blend of 69-percent nylon/31-percent elastane. An opaque/sheer stripe with a slick hand is knitted with cupro/Lycra. The cupro is made from regenerated cotton.Lightness, comfort and easy care are selling points at Billon Freres (Gera Gallico). There are open meshes and lacy looks. Some of these have a metallic aspect knitted with nylon/polyester/Lycra. In some cases black polyester is used, so when the fabric is dyed it has an iridescent appearance. Sheer iridescent knits of 100-percent polyester can be crushed or crinkled.Other popular fabrics at Billon Freres are two way stretch knits with glitter grounds and wavy flocked designs, double cloths knit in open crochet stitches, and engineered fringe patterns. These can be designed and colored to order. There are two way stretch denim looks, crepes and coated stretch knits.AGB (Fitzsimmons Fabrics), a Spanish firm specializing in casualwear fabrics, showed a lot of stretch. It turns up in shirtings and bottom weights. There are glittery double faced fabrics in blends of viscose/nylon/elastomer, piece dyed shirtings in cotton/Lycra, sateens, and bi-colored twills. Tencel is another fiber favorite. It is blended with linen or polyester and used in shadow stripes and lenos. Other linen content fabrics range from crepes to rustics to sheers. Indistinct Prints On SilkIn the silk sector, Rainbow (Ratti USA) showed indistinct, blurred prints on chiffons and satins. Donatella Ratti likened one to a Turner painting. A cotton fabric in this line was boiled with Marseilles soap for a crisp hand. At Deste Brochier (Ratti USA) Ratti explained that the line has ancient origins using modern technology. There is a group of double silk chiffons which have lurex threads floating between layers. The effect is ethereal and ultra-luxe. Other sandwich cloths are printed using a new technique which gives dimension to the fabric. There are roses adrift on organdy, and eyelashes blinking on organza.
New fabric designs in bright colors from Ratti were introduced at the Premiere Vision show held recently in Paris. The Ratti Donna line goes from desk to dinner. Linen burn outs have a 3-D effect. There are similar treatments on silk jacquards. Shirting weight cottons are noisy with a light water repellent treatment. This seasons new paisley is printed on a viscose burn out.Luxury silks at Bucol (Solstiss) are light, sheer and transparent. There are softly colored jacquard organzas and open jacquards on silk/linen gauze. Cotton/silk double cloths reverse with discrete jacquard patterns on one side, iridescent glimmer on the other.At Solstiss Francois Damide, President of the US division, says that silver will be the color of 2000. He shows it in lace. One of the most opulent fabrics is antique sequined lace, selling at $630 per meter.Also in the silk sector the Swiss firm Mario Brauchbar (Barn Hill) has hand cut cotton voile with simple satin patterns cut into irregular shapes. There are lenos and jacquards in this line in blends of linen/viscose or cotton/silk.Summery jacquards at Dutel (Fitzsimmons) turn up on pique and waffle grounds. There are subtle swirling patterns, irregular wavy stripes and tree bark designs.Romain (Fitzsimmons) has tonal crepon jacquards. There are double faced fabrics in this line reversing from matte to luster and with a crinkle ground on one side. Metallic applications, embroidery, flocking, embossing and puff printing are some of the treatments which turn up on a variety of fabrics. There is silk organdy, acetate taffeta, and cotton/viscose ottoman.There are iridescent star bursts and wispy spider webs on sheer grounds at EDT (Fitzsimmons). Sparkle gauze, crushed printed chiffon, sheer moir44; lustered gauze, iridescent fabrics with cellophane, silk shantung and swirling prints on chiffon are other novelties in this line. Print RevivalWere getting a good reaction to pretty flowers on white grounds. Fabric structure is also important. Linen georgette is our best seller, followed by sparkle nylon, said Marc Burian of Komar (Gordon Textiles).Indistinct prints, boarders and widely spaced all overs in tonal shadings are popular. At Komos jacquard division, there are cotton/metal sheers, stretch crepons, viscose/linen sheers with an embroidered look and cotton/silk relief patterns.At Miroglio, prints that were described as minimals are selling to the dress market on stretch cotton twill. The designs are small, dainty flowers. Small florals on rayon georgette, tonal flowers on viscose crepe and sheers with shaded grounds are other designs that were sampling. Miroglio's new solids include cotton/spandex crepon, resin coated linen/cotton, and a box-in-box laser cut design on a cotton/Lycra/resin fabric.With the current interest in small floral prints, the Liberty (Barn Hill) stand was crowded. This firm keeps their classic designs in stock. They can be re-colored to order. In addition to traditional flowers, a simple bi-colored Greek key pattern and one resembling a backgammon board are of interest to the menswear trade.In the wool sector, new promotions at Woolmark are aimed at expanding the life of wool into new markets and seasons. Sportwool has been developed for active and leisure wear. Adidas is involved in Sportwool Pro, with a fabric that has an inner layer of wool and nylon on the face. The wool is used for its wicking properties. Abercrombie is another company using Sportwool. Many of the Sportwool fabrics are blended.The first garments in the Wool/Supriva promotion are about to reach stores. Georges Rech Sport is using a fabric from Lepoutre for parkas. Jones Canada has the North American exclusive.Machine Washable Wool, Wool Cotton, and Wool plus Lycra are other programs where easy care is featured. Wool is courting other new partners. Amicor, the antibacterial acrylic fiber from Acordis is one. ProctorandGamble is another with a stain and dry clean kit which works in home dryers.Many wool weavers show low percent wool content fabrics at this time of year. Hunters of Brora sells 320 and 260 gr. weight tweeds in cotton/silk to their U.S. clients.At Robert Noble double-dye silk/linen heathers in neutral shades or chambray effects and a new ultra-light merino wool/linen/silk blend are of special interest. The merino blend has a dry, non-wool, cool touch. The yarn is spun in Italy. Fabrics have a slight melange effect, with blue taking on the look of denim.Robert Brochier, president of Premiere Vision, announced that the next event will expand in both the number of exhibitors and space it will occupy.About 50 new exhibitors have been accepted. The show will increase by an additional 10,000 square meters. It will open on September 30, 1999, with a special day reserved for select buyers, and run through October 3rd.

May 1999