"The rustle of real silk will return  to the fashion scene in summer 2002," says leading Italian fabric producer Zegna Baruffa Borosesia.

The company stresses, however, that whereas this seductive sound has traditionally been associated with heavy weight woven silks, for the season ahead it is as likely to be associated with ultra lightweight, such as translucent organza with a knit construction.

And the feeling for more uninhibited glamorous fabrics is also inherent in the wide use of multi-coloured yarns or yarns employing a mix of fibres - both man-made and natural - to give shimmering contrasts of matt and gloss surfaces or to achieve shot and colour change effects.

"Metallic components are also very much in style for the coming season," said the Zegna Baruffi sales team. "In the Italian home market particularly there has been a strong take-up of yarns with a copper content such as our own aptly named Copper quality, which is in fact a combination of twisted cotton with copper thread."

By Sonia Roberts