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Inter Fashion offers an emotional weather report

Consumers have always tied emotions to color, said Deborah Szwarcé, of Inter Fashion Concepts, especially in troubled times. Not surprisingly, then, her company's colors for spring 2004 are called Emotions.

"People are reacting to more softer hues, rather than oversaturation," she said, which offers them familiarity and comfort. The softening of shapes — reflected in the curvy contours seen from furniture to dinnerware — has also affected colors.

Szwarcé also based her palette on three themes: Rustic Paradise, influenced by a back-to-the-deep-woods feeling, or a remote vacation spot; On The Beachfront, a surf and sand theme with hazy background colors; and From The Heart, a sentimental farmhouse feeling reminiscent of Grandma's house.

The "workhorse" in the firm's palette is a group of 14 colors called Atmospheres, which are the most directional, she said, and have a colorful yet toned-down effect. They include the mid tones Sunset, a "mauve-y pink;" Amber Glow, which continues in the orange vein, yet is influenced by yellow; Aqua Mist, a blue green; and Twilight, a soft grayed violet. Atmospheres also includes pale colors such as Straw, Seagrass and Haze, and the cosmetic cues Blush, Cream, Green Shade and Blue Shade, the last two a softer version of Aqua Mist and Sea Mist.

People are also searching for heritage and time with family, she said, so the Classics group, the deepest tones in the palette, are also important, as are Plumage, which are toned-down brights; New Neutrals, with nature-inspired tones; and Blossom, which focuses on such traditional pastels. Some color groups have faded, she added, including reds, which are now used in supporting roles, and include Red Apple and Flamingo in this palette. Oranges have also mellowed out.

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