EW's field guide to the next new things

By Megan Quitkin
Updated July 20, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT

Couch potatoes may be on to something — literally. Summer’s hottest fabric is toile, a sturdy cotton blend most often seen slipcovering grandmother-type furniture. The French textile, which dates back to the 18th century and features monochromatic etching-like images, was a hit in downtown designer Alice Roi’s 2001 collection, as well as in more mainstream shops like J. Crew and Anthropologie, which offers a variety of toile eyeglass holders, sandals, belts, and bags. ”I think toile is everywhere this season because of the redirection of Cacharel,” explains Barneys’ Judy Collinson, who stocks toile tops from the hot-again French company, plus colorful totes from Jerome Gruet and Vanessa Bruno. ”Toile evokes little romantic, naive scenes that are kind of pastoral,” adds Collinson. ”You’ll see shepherds, cupids, and flowers.” Just don’t get lost on grandma’s sofa.