The Best survey reveals a new masculine elegance. Buyer's choices break with the rigid codes of classic tailored works, without out-rightly championing anything too casual. The men's universe for winter 17-18 is infused with suppleness, a leitmotif foreshadowing new volumes. Earliest selections point to less-rigid menswear in quest of a distinctive and subtle fantasy, a truly chic allure often featuring a broken suit.
The simply classic shirt loses ground in favour of printed motifs and fantasy weaves. Choices for chic mercerized cottons go to the offbeat, with enlarged checks. Knits are even envisioned for shirts.
One buyer out of five talked about velvetiness. This record score is mainly concentrated in 100% cottons, emerised or brushed. But the demand also extends to wool-cotton blends. The desire for a shirt with a caressing feel leads choices towards pinwale corduroys.
Not so plain
Yet again this season, buyers liked a certain ambiguity between a plain and a pattern - as in micro-jacquards, subtle plays between end-on-ends and figureds, monochrome or two-tone fancy weaves, and woven or printed micro-patterns.
Hanging by a thread
Breaking news this season: designers were attracted to visuals enriched with fancy yarns. Engineered yarns trace out stripes and checks, throwns and jaspés
give a new vibration to patterns. Audacious!
COATS, JACKETS AND SUITS
Wrap up in warmth
By favouring airy, blown up suitings and deceptively heavy woollens, buyers herald fuller structured volumes for winter 17-18, with rounder coats and enveloping jackets.
A unanimous vote for plains in menswear, as long as they have something distinctive. Perfectly regular plains are preferred full, dense and supple, compact and flexible. Monochrome plains have to feature well-marked diagonals.
Subtly rich sobriety
More than half of buyers preferred a confidential chic. Close up, something has to be going on: dark checks feature muffled vibrations, Prince of Wales patterns melt into colour depths, suiting jacquards are monochrome.
Very pale and very dark: buyers want stark contrast. This visual boldness is confirmed in the choice of new takes on houndstooths and opticals. And above all, clearly visible stripes and enlarged tennis or banker stripes are emerging in suitings this season.
Buyers' choices point to an opulent but never haughty winter 17-18. Selections tend to exaggerated dimensions, and visibly fancy structures. In the background, jacquards continue their rise, appealing in both their ornamental and more sober versions, such as deceptively-uniform figured plains.
Like a beam of light in a sea of fantasy, metallic lustre emerges in all selections: from coat-weights to tops, metallo-plastic yarns dominate especially in silk, with a best-ever score. Nothing flashy, though. Tempered coppery and bronze accents caught the eye in knits and silkies. Coppery or gold metallic yarns subtly infiltrate wools. These soft metallic versions are confirmed in lace, embroidery and jacquards.
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TOPS AND DRESSES
Buyers want fluidity with weight, and suppleness that's smooth. That's a recipe for success for runny and weighty ultra-feminine knits, and silky satins in preferably stretch or washed versions.
For the first time, crepes assert themselves in a winter season. Softened, less dry and thus less cold versions had the most appeal. Highly sought-after for dresses, crepes as print grounds scored especially well.
The search for cosy fabrics - common to all markets this winter - certainly explains the warm knit and light-but-cosy silk selections. But velvets took top honours, with a sharp uptake in requests for panne valvets, in both silkies and knits.
Selections went to outwardly classic patterns that, on second look, aren't so standard! Tie motifs move thanks to fluid grounds, houndstooths and fancy wovens are given a new spin, thanks to their structures and the use of fancy yarns.
It's foliage over flowers according to the Best survey. Even though there's still some interest in romantic, still-life romantic bouquets. This trend is confirmed in lace, where the preferred motifs focus more on leaves.
Bold first choices tended to gigantesque motifs, repeat-less jacquards, embroideries or prints to engineer, and patterns so big they verge on abstraction. An urge for extremes is emerging...
JACKETS AND ENSEMBLES
Wool choices herald women's coats that are both warm and light. After a season of mohairs and other hairy fabrics, macro-bouclés are the new fleece-of-choice. Bouclette yarns are also liked when inserted in stripes and checks.
The feminine universe, so rich in fantasy, takes an interest in a more interiorised, restrained opulence. With compact knits and weaves; very dense diagonals; fine, quite compressed felts; and slimmer bondings.
There's a real enthusiasm for things macro, very big, very visible and outsized.
Selections included wovens that look viewed through a magnifying glass, yarns with excessively coarse counts, and above all boldly enlarged windowpane checks and fantasy. Coats just might be very graphic next winter.
Best Autumn/Winter 17/18
3 days of surveys at Première Vision Fabrics
296 weavers interviewed, in 12 sectors
257 samplings collected
Quantitative and qualitative data
A complete analysis of buyers' choices
Day-by-day analysis in The Daily News
Buyers want something cosy, and comfort that makes no style concessions. Autumn-winter 1718 is primed for fantasy and elegance. It's time for lightness and warm suppleness... along with quality technology prized more for its actual functions than look.
Suppleness is high on everyone's list. This consensus is written into a broader story of elegance, moving away from a casual nonchalance, and evident in both women's and menswear. Full, dense, alive and pliant handles met with success: draping, enveloping, free of any rigidity, and above all always elegant. These choices open up a whole new field of chic contemporary looks combining presence and agility. As a result, diagonals are the highest they've been in the surveys for 10 years. Choices also indicate a return to blends with viscose and Lyocell.
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Fantasy takes off: choices went to patterns that turned their backs on standard archetypes. The houndstooths and Prince of Wales selected were offbeat and distorted, with new scales and colourways to give them a new twist. Check favourites - enlarged to the max in jacket and coat weights - stepped away from traditional looks. Strange, darkly romantic flowers were among the favourites in prints, and out-scale motifs were liked in jacquards and lace. For outdoors, camouflage patterns tended to precious or figured versions, in unusual colourways.
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Buyers are on a hunt for perfection this season. They want absolute plains, really regular structures, visibly neat constructions, totally smooth surfaces. The desired look is neat and chic, in suitings as well as in technical synthetics, and above all in jacket- and pant-weight cottons. Even menswear heads off in this new direction: plains overtake blurries and chinés.
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It's winter: buyers can't escape a need for comfort. The game-changer this season: wool warmed up with a light hand. The protective performants buyers selected are cosy, fluffy and soft. This wave of warmth surges through fancies and decorative grounds too, putting velvets front and centre: embroidered, printed, jacquards, and yarn-dyed velvets.
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In a real surprise for a winter season, multi-colour aspects scored very well, in both the men's and women's markets. Buyers like dark and multicolour fabrics, far removed from gaily-coloured looks. They enjoyed this different way of working tone-on-tones, and the secret richness brought by colour depth.
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A definite yes to recycled fibres
Fewer declarations and good intentions this season, but instead a concrete turn towards ecological and responsible production. The demand for fabrics made from recycled fibres increased significantly in all sectors. These textiles are even starting to seduce the fancy women's market. The most committed buyers were those in active sports and jeanswear.
Yarns make the difference
This season, a fabric's seductive appeal derived from the creativity of its yarns. The surprising handles that appealed to buyers derived from the twist and density of the fabric's yarns. The singular plays on weaves that caught the eye of show visitors relied on a subtle use of fancy yarns inserted in stripes, checks, jacquards and embroideries.
Sport & Outdoor
No more running after citywear here. Buyers have dropped any thought of mimicking either tailoring or casualwear...They are doubling down on a real meeting of natural and synthetic fibres that optimizes functional products. And they are re-focusing on technological features, the notion of fundamental comfort. This search for performance combines with eco-responsible approaches, with an 8-fold increase in requests for recycled polyesters.
Constriction-free protection is the goal this winter 1718. All the light performant textiles were chosen: featherweight waterproofs and wind-stops, slimmer bondings, stretch and weightless multilayers. Suppleness had its highest score in 10 years, confirming that priority is given to fabrics that know how to accompany the body, even in dense versions, with shape-memory, malleable and fuller textiles.
This winter, buyers are going for technical fabrics that are cosy, like plush toys for children. Another story focused on comfort! Fans of polyesters with finely sueded surfaces, buyers went beyond mere surface softness, diving into the softness of double-faces with thermal backs, soft fleeces, sleek furs, and woolly interiors.
Plains score the highest they ever have, relegating semi-plains and crepons to the back shelf. The requests were unanimous: no irregularity. Smoothness, evenness, and simple structures - everything that makes the glory of plain weaves and twills. Added-value is sought in density and the quality of materials.
There's nothing military about the selections, even though the selected motifs are directly inspired by lattices. Preferred camouflage patterns move decisively away from uniforms, and are now reflecting, subtly metallic, stylised like pixels, elaborated in jacquards and featuring colourings decidedly not inspired by nature.
Winter 1718 champions the very DNA of casualwear. Buyers' requests centre on relaxed looks that have stopped trying to move closer to tailoring. A sea change! Comfortable and comforting, versatile and easy to wear, the look-good/feel-good fabrics this season all have a touch of fantasy...a touch of originality is expected.
TOPS & SHIRTS
Off-kilter authentics find favour. Selected checks are all slightly shifted: not quite plaids, not quite ginghams, not quite windowpanes. Colourways are offbeat too, and fancy yarns are game-changers.
Even more than in other sectors, casual tops have to be warm and enveloping. Ultra brushed and supple cottons; truly velvety knits and creamy interlocks.
Another take on fleece
Sweats, the key item in the relaxed wardrobe, feature fancier knits: fleeces with exaggeratedly bouclé interiors, double jerseys with a woolly aspect, or stitch-plays borrowed from sweaters.
JACKETS, BLOUSONS, PANTS
A wave of velveties emerged last winter, and this season it focuses on fancy corduroys. Buyers look for very visible ribs and printed or figured velvets that are resolutely supple and light.
Perfection and neatness are expectations shared by all the different markets, but take on an unexpected dimension in premium relax. Designers opted for very well drawn diagonals, and perfectly structured plains.
The comfort demanded of outer-layer pieces favour suppleness combined with brushed or emerised finishings. A cosy flexibility, especially seen in pant weights, where stretch is a must! In denim, buyers noted fabrics with a knit/woven ambiguity.
Fluidity over all
The casualwear market clearly prefers fluidity to firmness. This is rendered even more evident by the increase in compositions incorporating Lyocell or viscose. A direction opening the door to decidedly more feminine casualwear.