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Design shift

It was a Heimtextil most unlike those of years before.

From a design perspective, the mood was evolutionary, not revolutionary.

In terms of color, there was a definite toning down of both the color palette, which in recent years had embraced the bold and brash, and the topical interest, which had been highly lustrous and glittery, but is now more sheen, less flash.

Nonetheless, colors were exuberant, exciting and full of spirit, hardly the temperate palette that Americans say customers want.

Oranges, reds and blues have been stepped down — taking them out of the avant-garde to mainstream usability.

Taffeta was clearly the fabric, a broad swatch of super-upper-end fabric editors and many upper-middle fabric companies were highlighting taffeta constructions — for sheers, multi-purpose and upholstery fabrications.

As a motif, roses were the singular theme, a definite successor to last year's tulip motif. They appeared in overscaled versions, in delicate framed prints and jacquards and in tossed versions on bedding and sheers.

And as a singular partner for the taffeta fashions, many were shown in rich, bold — but not brash — and very warming versions of plaids or outsized boxy checks.

More than before, designs for kids took up a lot of space, especially in the fabric sector. In bed and bath, kids always have been an important consumer target. From the perspective of fabric exhibitors especially, creative, fun, happy looks are far more important than the licensed product phenomenon.

Chenille as a dominant yarn construction lost ground. Chenille, as other yarns, always will be part of the mix, but the dominance of the yarn definitely has stepped down.

And while all of this was taking place in rarified halls, there was major business being done in Hall 6 and other outposts where the emerging country forces were showing how they progressed from last year.

From a business perspective, the changes have been swift and obvious. Long-time exhibitors are moving away, emerging countries' textile businesses are beginning to make major statements — and conflicts are coming forth. Whether it's from a pricing point of view, knock-off problems and reliability in terms of delivery, confinement or quality are raising major issues.

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