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Versatile Looks to Grace Showtime

New decorative fabrics collections will sport eco-friendly themes as well as a color palette that is surprisingly low key, and looks that are at once elegant and opulent but highly versatile.

Showtime, the fabric market produced by the International Textile Market Association here since 1990, again will host the event from Sunday June 3 through Wednesday June 6 for a buying audience that includes decorative jobbers, fabric retailers, home textiles suppliers and retailers, furniture retailers, and suppliers.

The eco movement is involving many in the decorative fabrics community – both from a product development and design perspective as well as what could be called a back-of-the-house effort to clean up production techniques.

At American Silk, “We see this as a time to jazz up classics like paisleys in a modern feeling,” said Cynthia Clark Douthit, vp, design. Overall, scale – grand scale – “is our biggest emphasis. Large becomes grand, medium becomes large, and small becomes medium,” she related.

Overall, Douthit noted, “All greens and combinations of greens are important. Citron is a new neutral. And colors like blush, taupe, ivory, and espresso express a very elegant mood. And we are mixing warms and cools in our Café Dolce.”

Also citing “lots of greens as feature colors, especially with a yellow cast,” Michael Day, vp of TFA, sees touches of gray throughout the line as well as platinum, bronze, and gold. While there will be sheen, it will not be Lurex, Day said: “It will be glamour not glitz.”

In general, Day related, “The major mood is transitional – not contemporary or formal, and with interesting weaves.”

Mid-70s retro prints simply look new again, is the feeling of Greg Lawrence, print director for Duralee. “There’s a return to simplicity and graphic looks and these fit well into the mood.”

Jennie Wilde, vp, product design and merchandising at The Robert Allen Group, is among those who see “a resurgence of very neutral neutrals like ivory. There’s also a lot of interest in grays, platinums, and taupes.”

But she emphasized, “Spa blue and chocolate brown are still a major combination.”

Otherwise, Wilde sees some metallics moving in, “but they’re more fad than trend -- but they’re also being used in unexpected ways as mixed with neutrals.” There also will be more metallic colors that create luminosity in bronze, copper, and gold.

Looking at fabric trends from an eco perspective, Laura Levinson, senior vp, Valdese commented, “It is the biggest trend in fabrics. We’re working with every major jobber to optimize the green eco-friendly story in dyeing and recycling, as well as developing appropriate constructions in organic cotton and bamboo.”

Levinson noted, “We’ve gone through the eco process in our contract business and now are working to make the look residential.” Among the moves in residential fabrics, she noted are vegetable dye palettes, as well as combining fibers for design and performance while offering eco attributes.

In addition to product development, Levinson explained, Valdese also is working to streamline its production systems to enhance eco-friendly production.

At Chris Stone, the Eco Collective was developed largely as a response to several major retailer requests, said Andrea Bernstein, executive director of marketing and merchandising.

The collection uses eco-friendly dyes as well as natural sustainable fibers, she pointed out. And being based in California, the company was early on tailoring its production systems to eco-friendly technology, she related.

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