S/S 21 MUST-HAVE MATERIALS : a focus on European linen

A creative focus on “positive reduction” shone throughout the Première
Vision Paris show, as international buyers’ increasingly turned towards a
vision of globally eco-responsible fashion.


The market’s high expectations – for creative processes extoling simplicity,
a return to the essential, an emphasis on optimism and energy – has
translated into a growing appetite on the part of buyers for natural fibers.
Their interest was confirmed by the Best survey at the show, and later by
the Updating survey conducted last April and May of international buyers.
Driven by a desire for clearly understandable manufacturing processes, and
products showcasing the quality of materials and know-hows, international
buyers are naturally – and more and more unanimously – turning to linen.
For while linen, a natural fiber, remains a niche product on a global scale,
the total acreage dedicated to its cultivation in Europe has doubled in 10
Eager to keep up with the market’s growing enthusiasm, exhibitors are
proposing ever more creative developments fusing performance, beauty and
eco-responsibility for S/S 21.


Elegantly natural

The interest in a more natural direction felt at the last show logically
encourages buyers to opt for linen. A plant fiber that’s both sustainable
and timeless, linen has everything needed to appeal to buyers and play a
central role in the upcoming collections.


In jackets and suits, linen’s irregularity is appreciated for its power to
give life to materials. Its uneven look and feel lend personality to
fabrics, and bring out an affirmed plant-fiber influence. Eschewing
rusticity and the usual clichés regarding authentic and reassuringly neutral
shades, this season’s linens celebrate joy and fun, positing an entirely
elegant vision of casualwear for summer.


Think of safari jackets with new volumes and exaggeratedly puffy patch
pocket details, worn over loose, high waisted and belted shorts with rolled
hems: a look just right for re-exploring the cities this summer.


Linen’s proven heat-regulating properties pave the way to casual summer
tailored looks that are both cool and chic. Full-cut, elongated jackets with
strong shoulders are worked in bright colors such as fuchsia, paired with
men’s-style pants for a dynamic, optimistic silhouette, ready to launch into
next season.


In shirtings, linens are as fine as can be, and champion softness both in
plains and color-woven. An effortless match of comfortable ease and
refinement, linen updates loose, oversized shirts and kaftans. Stripes –
principally stick and tennis versions – are preferred over checks. When
worked in plant fibers, the classic blue and white color schemes of city
menswear are given a new lease on life, and in turn, these hues accentuate
the fiber’s intrinsic freshness.


Surface irregularities are especially liked this season, and creponned,
embossed, deceptively wrinkled and skillfully fancy-woven linens lend a
lively feeling of substance to lighter weight fabrics.


In knits, a sporty spirit found in boxy cuts and polo styles gains a new
sophistication thanks to the use of fine-count linen yarns, for refined and
very subtly slubbed knits.


Here again, buyers are opting for micro-structures like piqués and
jacquards, along with bright, warm colors conveying optimism, such as honey
beam yellow.


Linen-y hybrids

Eager to move beyond the authentic and classic image of linen,
exhibitors this season are proposing creative developments combining
innovation, good looks and responsibility, notably thanks to new blends.
Blends with natural fibers are popular, in particular for the strong
cross-cutting appeal of nature for S/S 21.


Cellulosic blends – especially viscose, Lyocell and Naia™ fibers – are
also in the limelight, contributing to a washed, plant-fiber suppleness
while adhering to a sustainable and traceable approach. Such blends are
also perfectly in line with this season’s no-gender trend. Pants are
relaxed and unisex with accentuated pleats, while shorts feature high
waists and workwear details. Shirts play on contrasts, and come in
cropped boxy styles or, on the opposite spectrum, are fully-cut and
exaggeratedly long for sophisticated, easy-to-wear pieces.


In knitwear, a combination of noble fibers with finely slubbed silk also
wins over womenswear buyers, especially for long, lean, occasionally
ribbed mid-summer dresses that are at once quite comfortable and
extremely chic. A play on fiber lengths creates unique yarns with the
strong character typical of exceptional and ancestral expertise, with
the subtle slubs reminiscent of artisanal work.


For evening, linens seek to be dazzlingly eye-catching, without losing
any of their authenticity. They can be lustrous or coated – sometimes
subtly, sometimes markedly – with finishings designed to magnify their
plant-fiber irregularities.


They are also embellished with lurex yarns for ultra-feminine and
sensual blouses and dresses, either asymmetric or
exaggeratedly-flounced, for looks that move and are sure to create a
sensation at summer cocktail parties.


Highly prized for several seasons by international buyers, linen emerged
as one of the leading materials at the last Première Vision Paris show.
A far cry from any rustic clichés, the linen fabrics for S/S 21 veer
towards an offer that is comfortable, fresh and sophisticated thanks
either to either new blends or finishings. A creative offer just right
for building a new collection where responsibility, performance and
beauty all come together.

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