Pitti Immagine Filati ablaze with ideas and technology for wool

2 February 2016

Pitti Immagine Filati in Florence January 27-29 clearly demonstrated that yarns and fibre are the place in the fashion chain at which technology begins. This fact, as Janet Prescott reports, applies to various fibres, including wool for Spring/Summer 2017. These advances represent the changes and ideas that, when put into action, will shape developments for years to come.

Bright colours at Zegna Baruffa

At the busy show in the Fortezza da Basso, yarns and fibres were engineered to make the most of their advantages, whether man-made or natural. Wool’s many in-built qualities - including water repellence and quick drying features - were seen in fabrics by Zegna Baruffa and Botto Poala with H2Dry targeting a whole new market for easy care top quality wool demanded by young professionals.

Texture and technical stitching by Zegna Baruffa

The genuine advantages of wool and wool blend fabrics for next-to-skin and practical sportswear was revealed in many examples in the latest offering from The Wool Lab of stylish designs, with a great emphasis on practical, performing fabrics. These fabrics ensured interest from international buyers and designers keen to identify a new trend in quality techno fashion and trans-seasonal, multi-use garments.

Most of the advances are invisible, derived from specific processes and finishes, with clever selection to marry up different fibres with a range of technical features: microclimate, breathable, easy care, electronic, responsive, protective. Because of this, information to the end user is of great importance with much more available to customers. Concern for the environment is widespread and animal fibres are widely promoted as natural and renewable.

At the same time, further amplification of the yarns in the show came in the Spazio Ricerco exhibition by Angelo Ficus and Nicola Miller entitled ‘Materiality’, with collaboration by studios and designers like Carlo Volpi, researchers at Buckinghamshire University and Chelsea College in the UK, and the Dyloan Studio in Italy, all showing extraordinary effects with creative production techniques. These were achieved by techniques such as bonding and uniting very different yarn and fabric qualities and using knitting techniques to exploit various qualities. Raised areas and different tensions in stitching gave an almost vegetable, completely organic look, at the same time affecting the handle and thickness of various areas of the fabric. Plasticised surfaces, wet looks, dry handles, coarse and soft yarns were seen brought together and contrasted to make something very new and different. Hairy yarns were brushed out, to contrast with tighter, synthetics for example in often exciting, opulent combinations in rich colours. 

Warm tones for Spring/Summer 2017

The use of unusual colour combinations gave a fresh new look to many carefully crafted offerings from the exhibitors, all at the top of the yarn range. Warm groups of colours; reds, oranges and gold; a new looking bright green and paler verdure; chocolate brown punctuated with bright pink or flashes of light; blue, green and violet; and florals all caught the eye. Chalky tones and a large number of variations on a natural theme took colours of fleece contrasted with frankly synthetic shades, as the new mix of natural and manmade finds equilibrium.

Merino developments at Spazio Ricerca

The Spacio Ricerca showed many fancy designs developed with intricate mixes of knit, weave, and 3D layering effects, many involving fine Merino wool, showing its versatility in adaptation to different gauges, fineness and colours. Knitclub showcased the possibilities offered by highest quality knitting mills to buyers, exploiting various complexities of the new fancy yarns and constructions.

Interesting mixes included 66wool/26silk/6 polyamide, 50/50 wool/silk, 20linen/50Merino/30silk and 50/50 extrafine Merino/viscose for next to skin designs. All of these indicate the increasing trans-seasonal use of wool used in imaginative technical ways for summer 2017.