Palettes expand, new lines contract

Michele SanFilippo, Staff Staff, March 15, 2004

As branded sheet and towel suppliers increasingly tailor their programs to specific retail customers, the number of open line introductions continues to dwindle. However, brand producers this market will nonetheless expand colorways, and in some cases, constructions in solid color sheets and towels.

At Springs, there are six sheeting programs in Wamsutta that feature solid color additions. In the 500-count sateen couture line, the mill is adding thistle, neptune and java to the current palette of eight colors.

In its 400-count luxury sateen program, there are three new colors (melon, sterling and mink), bringing the palette to 12.

In the 360-count Supima twill program, five new colors are being added to the previous palette of 18 colors. They are tiger's eye, ginger, vapor, plum and ivy. This program, which launched last market and began shipping in November, has gotten solid results at retail, according to Tim Landers, senior merchandise manager at Springs.

The other program launched last market, 300-count Egyptian sateen sheets, will feature six new colors, bringing the palette up to 23 colors. They are lilac, river, fern, russet, nocturne and raisin. In the 300-count Pima twill program, four colors will be added (surf, linen, spice and forest).

In the 400-count luxury blend program, seven new colors bring the palette to 13. They include pear, aegean, baltic, basil, raspberry, suede and henna. Three colors (ocean, carnation and metal) were added to the 280-count Pima rich program, which now has a palette of 23 hues.

In addition, three colors (rust, mandarin orange and black) have been added to the Springs Centennial towel. Springs' towel designer Wood Caldwell offered a few insights on color direction at the mill this market.

"We see a lightening of some of the color palettes to more of a frosted color," said Caldwell. "Blues are more watery; greens are a lot more yellow; warm colors are really important and exciting right now; and grays continue to be strong throughout their entire range."

Veratex will add nine new colors to its Medici sheeting line, a 350-count dobby weave Egyptian cotton sateen program that previously had nine jewel tones in the palette. They are heather, nectar, aloe, pearl, spa, sable, maize, buff and porcelain.

According to Susan Hagen, head designer of bedding at Veratex, "It's a new range of mid-tone pastels that are fairly directional. The colors look very new and fresh as our palette before consisted of rich, deep vegetable colors."

In towels, Veratex's lines are produced by U.K. towel manufacturer Christy. The Medici by Veratex towel is 100 percent Egyptian combed cotton and features seven new colors that add subtle mid-tones to the previous range of nine colors: aloe, maize, mocha, nectar, pearl, teal and wicker. A 35-by-65-inch bath sheet in all colors has also been added to the line.

Said Oliver Newman, Christy president, "We wanted to layer in more middle colors to a pretty vibrant, deeper palette."

Also new is Medici Stripe, a velour and loop striped coordinate. It is being produced in four existing colors from the palette (sienna, black, cinnabar and coffee).

The Royal Sateen Home brand by DWI Holdings is introducing a light moss colorway to its Royalty Floral collection, which is a 410-count jacquard sheet with an embroidered hem on the pillowcase and flat sheet.

"For the Royal Sateen program, we are continuing down this path of introducing neutral colors in sheeting for livability rather than excitement," said creative director Marcia Brandwein. "Royalty Floral is basically a classic look. Sheeting is considered more of an investment in this area and is what they are looking for in terms of longevity. Moss is really being considered a new neutral, while dark citrine has been our best selling color because it is easy to adapt into an environment."

Croscill added five newer colors to its solid-color Mist towel this market, so the palette now has 10 colors. They are black, gold, bronze, claret and plum. "We knew that we introduced a very soft palette last market, so we needed to add deep tones to really round out these solid color towels," said Pegeen Cooper, head towel designer in Croscill's bath division.

In the Mist sheeting program, which also had a palette of five pastel colors, eight new colors have been added to a 250-count construction that coordinates back to a new solid color duvet program with a herringbone chevron textural theme. The new colors are antique, midnight blue, gold, wine, claret, olive, copper and dusty lavender. The sheet program will also feature this new herringbone chevron textural theme.

Dan River is adding a new color, passion, to its pineapple solid color sheet in the Lilly Pulitzer line. The sheets are 300-count, 100 percent ring-spun cotton in a palette of six colors: passion, sky blue, lemon twist, lime, pink lemonade and white.

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