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Tissu Premier Autumn 09

Prints and checks grabbed the eye while textured plains injected a classic feel at the first look at mills’ autumn 09 collections.

Though plenty of prints and acres of checks adorned the stands at last week’s edition of Tissu Premier a counterpoint emerged in the womenswear fabrics as mills sought to provide nervous buyers with more classic options.

Plains were offered but in more sophisticated versions to provide a trend-proof appeal with plenty of value for money. A spokeswoman for one French mill put it in a commercial context: “Many buyers want more basics and generally they are after less adventurous fabrics for the bulk of their collections. They expect their customers to buy less into trends that won’t last and the difficulty for us is that they feel they can just as easily go to Chinese mills for similar fabrics that will look almost the same and cost a lot less.”

Design consultant Anne Tyrrell said the mills had worked hard to provide more interest in the classic styles: “Though there are still a lot of gorgeous prints and loads of checks, there are also lots of lovely plains with a couture feel coming in at a medium price level.” She added that treated fabrics, 3d constructions, silky cottons and sparkle effects all added interest.

In line with the classic feel, prints came in vintage and traditional paisleys, while in terms of the palette, the autumn 09 fabrics on show signalled a sober season. Among the darker and monochrome options, newness came from a deep wine shade was used on prints, moving on from the purple seen this autumn.

Darker colours and plainer fabrics? It all points to a classic reaction to a tough economy. But don’t despair, while it seems reasonable to expect a general lowering of hemlines the trend for lace has also had an enormous impact on suppliers and a renewed interest in trimmings meant that buyers were looking for cost effective ways to add embellishment. And there was also a swathe of suppliers still keen to inject saturated brights and neon shades, so there will still be colour – and if it fails to swamp the rails then at least it will be in the windows.

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