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Inter Fashion sees softer shades

Comforting, optimistic and softened are the three key words Deborah Szwarce, president, Inter Fashion Concepts, would use to describe the colors for spring 2003.

The first major color story she calls "cosmetic cues," a group of very feminine colors such as blushes, pinks, cream, as well as shadow brown and lavender. This will result in softened textures as well, already evident in some brushed looks. Lingerie influences will also be spotted, and the increased appearance of lace, refined embroidery and applique will grow.

An offshoot of the cosmetic cues are the icy pale colors, such as ice pink, silver mist and ice cream.

Other groups of colors include mid-tone pottery hues, used in combinations with other colors or accents, as well as subdued brights such as strawberry, red earth, seed pod, mushroom, lagoon and malachite. Blackened colors such as red ink, brown ink, green ink and blue ink, support the other color groups.

Szwarce also divided some colors into emerging families for 2003. "There will be lots and lots of pinks," she said, from icy tones to deep wine colors. "It's taking off from the purple family."

She also still sees orange as an important factor. "I was surprised to see so much orange at the shows," she said. Orange will influence such hues, resulting in colors like pink coral, pomegranate, coral fan, red earth and red sail, a cinnabar color.

Blues, always a popular choice with the consumer, will also continue in shades "anything related to blue," she said, such as sky blue, light teal, China porcelain blue or lagoon. Supporting the blues will be the greens, including the newest greens like pernod or leaf green — "the purest green I've seen in a long time."

Some colors will be fading, she believes, including purple. "Purple was always a dicey color because of the level of public acceptance," she said. "Now the market is oversaturated." Some greens will also shift, and dominant shades, such as sage and celedon, will become subordinate.

Some upcoming trends will also affect patterns, including the Scandinavian influence that results in a clean, romantic feeling. An Alpine influence will result in charming details, such as smocking. And the plaids and stripes of the English and Scottish country will surface, along with fleeces and tweeds.

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