LEATRICE EISEMAN, author, forecaster and director of the Pantone Colour Institute
What is the mood for spring 08?
The theme of the season and the title of the Pantone view colour planner is Letting Go. We're in an age of responsibility and decision-making, and the theme reflects our desire to escape these stresses.
What are the core colours?
There is an unexpected element for spring, with midtones and earth shades but fewer light pastels than usual.
There are three main colour palettes for the spring 08 season. The first is Escape, which features mid blue, grey, silver and white, inspired by the sky, alongside copper and bronze metallics more reminiscent of the earth. The second palette, called Rest, invokes more midtones, including yellow-greens and aqua, balanced with soft sunlight yellow, acid green and khaki.
The final palette, called Re-Energise, includes blue and green with brown sugar and yellow ochre shades. However, the holly berry shade is the most surprising. It is a red with an antique patina - beautiful but very unusual for spring.
How will this translate into fashion?
In young fashion, we have seen a return to prints and 1980s-style colour blocking. This will continue, particularly on the high street at stores such as H&M.
But look at the top end of the market - isn't this what Versace has always done so confidently? If you study Etro's paisleys and some Hermes designs, there have always been unexpected clashes. Now we can expect more, but there are so many stories coming through. These days it's not a matter of direction but of choice.
ANGELO USLENGHI, creative team coordinator, Milano Unica
What spring 08 fabric stories emerged from Milano Unica?
In both menswear and womenswear, stretch has emerged as an important component in both synthetic and natural fabrics. Even in more conservative areas of the industry, such as men's shirts, some mills are using stretch in 90% of their products.
A more scientific approach is now being used on man-made fibres to create new effects. It's no longer about affordability - it's about creating new styles. For instance, cashmere has been blended with a nylon filament to add lustre, not to make it cheaper.
Mills are starting to add more effects and embellishments and are looking outside the fashion world to find inspiration for their fabrics. For this season, jewellery has been a big inspiration, with filigree styles and delicate embellishment.
Which colours will be strong?
Neutrals will still be important, but they are likely to feature coloured streaks. For example, violet and rose will be used as highlights on grey and beige.
Some metallics will persist, but there will be fewer of the golds and silvers we have seen recently. Instead, they will be toned down into copper, bronze and platinum.
How will these influences translate into garment trends?
One important story for spring 08 will be about gently caressing the body - think elegant cascades of fabric that touch the body, rather than hug it. But there will also be a structural look that is more about shaping the body than following it. This doesn't mean heavy fabrics, but designers will use elements of jacquards and prints to give different effects on the body and create a slimmer look.
Elsewhere, three-dimensional fabrics with precise pleats and complicated weaves will come through, as fabrics themselves become more complex. This is story that will be picked up more for autumn 08.
PASCALINE WILHELM, fashion director, Premiere Vision
What are the strongest stories on fabrics?
Mixed fabrics are emerging as a strong story. For the first time, this is not a price issue but a way of introducing new effects.
Silk and polyamide, wool and silk, and cotton with silk mixes are being used to create silky and technical finishes. These are also important in casualwear, with denim using more lightweight and stretch materials.
Which colours will come through for spring 08?
Womenswear will have a fresh look thanks to the prevalence of yellow and acid green shades. Brighter colours will be used in a more confident way, not just in prints and patterns but also in pure colours.
In both jacquards and prints, smaller patterns give the clearest direction, particularly with more geometric effects. There are fewer florals and natural-style prints this time around.
What trends will come through on menswear?
There are many similarities between menswear and womenswear trends for the forthcoming seasons, with many nuances of shine coming through
Following on from past seasons, there are still many strong metallic effects in menswear, although they are made without metal and do not use the obvious gold and silver colourways. Shiny black and grey yarn will instead be used to make a chic menswear statement.
CHRIS GILBERT, creative director in charge of womenswear for Doneger Creative Services, New York
What's the mood for spring 08?
It's the first time since the 1960s that a truly modern mood is coming through. Culturally, people have been unsure and in their everyday lives there has been that edge of fear, so there has been a constant regurgitation of all sorts of retro looks.
But now people are accepting these times. In terms of fashion, they are rejecting escapism into the past or into folkloric fantasies. This is the newest direction, but there are still many trends, and all sorts of influences will continue to be felt.
How does this show in colours and fabrics?
There is more aggression and strength in both fabrics and colours. Neutrals and black are still around, but they will be used to offer sharp contrasts to brighter, solid colours, which will tip the spectrum in directions we haven't seen since the 1980s.
A lot of the blends are not particularly eco-friendly and there is a clash between people's consciences and their desire for these new styles. There are brights coming through with quite an artificial feel to them.
What will be the key silhouettes?
Parallel lines are a key look. Strong shoulders will be important and the natural waist will be bypassed. Barrel, egg and oval shapes are also likely to prove popular. The bubble will be less relevant, but will feature on casual and activewear.
If you think about the work that Raf Simons has done at Jil Sander, as well as collections from Alber Elbaz at Lanvin and Francisco Costa at Calvin Klein, there has been a move to what I call subtractive design. The term 'minimal' isn't quite right - this feel is about clothes filling a role and being functional while embracing design, but not being fussy. There is a move from over-embellishment towards a sort of well-designed uniform style. For men, tailoring continues to make a confident return because it looks sharp without being too over-considered. People want good design, but not for its own sake - they don't want anything fussy.