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Cotton Inc. color outlook: brighter.

Cotton Incorporated has revealed its trend forecast for fall/winter 1998/99, reporting that colors will be brighter and stronger and large-scale prints and technically interesting fabrics will make an impact.

The organization, which represents U.S. growers of upland cotton, unveiled its selling ideas which consist of a new color palette and four key fabric trends that have a variety of influences ranging from the South Pacific to camping gear.

This season, Cotton Inc. did most of its research in Europe. "Color continues to permeate the season," said Erika Easley, manager-fashion marketing, home fabrics.

Oranges, blues, greens, browns and pastels are the main color groups with additional colors adding to the diverse palette.

Coral will enter into the bright and spicy orange group. The blue spectrum will start in dark indigo and end with berry colors and grayed soft mauves.

Green has matured into deep tones from olive to pickle. And khaki will be a factor because of its ability to mix well with the brights, and chocolate brown will continue to be important. Pastels will return, but in brighter shades.

Cotton Inc. has grouped the trends, calling them: Plantation, Bright Outlook, neoFutura and Urban Canyon.

"We saw stripes throughout the market. We're also seeing sheers throughout all the categories," said Elizabeth P. Hough, senior director, fashion marketing.

The Plantation category is the next step in the already popular ethnic-theme fabrics. This group, according to Hough, is a lush, exotic, '90s take on ethnic. Influences span the globe from Polynesian to African, Asian and European.

Fabrics feature batiks, rich jacquard sheers with embroidery and crewel work and textures that mimic woodgrain. Textures ranged from matte to shiny and patterns from stripes to large scale florals to animal motifs. "Stripes continue to flourish in all forms," said Hough.

The next trend, neoFutura, is "all about hi-tech," explained Hough. Colors in this group are pale and serene. Textures include pucker waffle weaves, chenilles in geometric patterns and hi-tech dotted Swiss.

Patterns include more stripes, window pane checks and plaids. One technically interesting fabric was a moire with woven dots. "The design is definitely watered down," Hough said.

Pop art is the main inspiration for the Bright Outlook's whimsical designs and colors. "It's really the '50s and '60s revisited. There is pink, pink and more pink," Hough said.

Orange and periwinkle round out the main color story in this group.

Designs in this group are flat, oversized and bold. There are also multicolored hound's-tooth check fabrics and iridescent looks.

The Urban Canyon trend -- which is inspired by the nation's interest in camping and the outdoors -- is the newest. "What this is about is bringing the outdoors indoors," Hough said.

Heavier fabrics such as denim, twills, canvas, and corduroys, are the main components of this trend. And the heavier the better: the fabrics are sometimes rubberized and waxed.

Khaki is the main color story and most shades are muted, but there are some bright oranges mixed in. Wide stripes and geometric squares replace the large, floral patterns seen in the other collections. Details include grommets, zippers, mesh and flaps. Fabrics are durable and hearty, said Hough.
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Author:King, Eileen M.
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Date:Sep 29, 1997
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