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Rebirth of Cool
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What's the trendy colors, fabric and styles for the coming season? Barbara Kennington, creative and editorial director of WGSN, the world's leading trend analysis and news service for the fashion industry gave a seminar in Beijing recently which was attended by Chinese designers, manufactures, buyers, retailers and marketers.

In terms of colors, yellow, green, blue, purple, orange, red and new neutrals of mustard, camel and wolf grey, will be big for the coming season, according to Kennington, who came to prominence in the early 1980s and set up her own fashion design label straight out of college as one of the London "new wave" of designers.

The fabric of this model's dress is likely to be hot for the Autumn/Winter season.

The hot fabric for Autumn/Winter 2007/08 is velvet. As one of the "must-haves" in Autumn/Winter 2007/08, Kennington says: "Plush velvets are perfect for updating smocks, pinafores, casual jackets and party pieces. We particularly love Balenciaga's shrunken Napoleonic velvet blazers, working perfectly into the season's uniform-inspired mood."

Other must-haves include the plaid coat, while necklace-effect collars will become the new hot embellishment for both day and evening wear. Elsewhere, expect to see classic biker jacket reworked with metallic leather finishes, softer silhouettes and cropped lengths and puffa jackets using innovative quilting patterns.

In regards to styles, WGSN cited the following five major themes based on its early research on consumer attitudes, lifestyle influences, cultural moods and shifts:

The '40s femme fatale: 1940s-style military-inspired shapes such as sherling flight jackets and plaid coats. Styling has squared shoulders, sweetheart necklines and flippy hemlines with bow-tied satin blouses.

Young sophisticates: Long and lean, featuring minimal detailing for a chic, sophisticated look. Styling takes reference from the languid elegance of the late 1920s. Short hemlines and boyish fits keep the look young and fresh.

Fairytale folk: A rich interplay of print and textures is key to creating this look while decorative details, such as delicate pleating and softly gathered effects, add to the romantic appeal. Soft lofty knits, felted wools and plaids, and woollen embroideries are important too.

Barbara Kennington, creative and editorial director of WGSN.

Medieval: Look to lustrous fabrics such as tone-on-tone brocades, glossy satins, plush velvets, high-shine leather and synthetics to modernize the look. There is a strong trend for surface dimension informs quilted, ruched, dimensional pleating and armor-like decoration combined with heavy metal hardware and leather trims.

Ethnic eclectic: Key to creating this eclectic look is the confident mixing of print and pattern references and symbols for a mixed up, multi-cultural effect. Surface embellishment is key, hence frogging, brass buttons, toggles, plaited braids, decorative medallions and crests.

In addition to the coming two seasons, Kennington also revealed that techno intimacy, desert art and knitted tags are the three things that may be hot in the future.

Techno intimacy is a project in development with London's Royal College of Art that considers future human behavior and interaction and designs new products around the findings.

Kennington showed two examples of techno intimacy: One is "biojewellery", a wedding ring made from one bone that was lab-nurtured from bone cells of two people. The other is a "hug shirt" that lets one feel the embrace from a loved one far away. Via bluetooth, a mobile phone can trigger sensors in the shirt, which in turn gently "hugs" the wearer.

Desert art is the second major inspiration.

"In recent months, we've noted a growing trend for eco-conscious art, highlighting artists who are re-evaluating our relationship with nature," says Kennington,

"With green issues at the top of the political agenda -and increasingly of importance to the consumer, especially where home and fashion products are concerned - art and objects that reflect the beauty of the world's great landscapes are becoming increasingly inspirational and influential."

Knitted tags was an idea launched by two American textile artists who decided to use leftover yarn to brighten their home city of New York.

"Now these crazy tags can be found everywhere warming a stone on the Great Wall of China, hugging a Parisian street sign or decorating the Manhattan subway - just delightful," she adds.

(China Daily September 7, 2007)

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