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Mills rise to the occasion with wool for Summer 2017 in Paris

24 February 2016

Janet Prescott goes to the frontline of Première Vision, Paris, to discover the rise of wool in spring/summer collections and explore the upcoming trends for SS17.

Cool Wool

Cool Wool fabrics on display at The Woolmark Company’s stand at Première Vision, Paris

Première Vision Paris addressed the new season for summer 2017 with its own inimitable style, bringing forward the fresh, spring-like colours and large scale prints and weaves which made a newly washed and minted look for the season, displayed abundantly in the trend areas, contributing to a generally positive atmosphere.

Wool featured well in the mix, Cool Wool is a constant now for top-class suitings from all sorts of different suppliers, in all sorts of different guises for the spring/summer season. Hield Bros, Charles Clayton, Luxury Fabrics, Raymond, Yunsa, Nanshan, Kiplic, Altinyildiz and Goldentex to name just a few of the leading international suiting names which have substantial collections in wool in their summer ranges. Many more mills were blending Merino wool with fibres such as linen, silk or man-mades for a new handle and a new appeal to customers.  

Summer suitings by Heild Bros. ALL PHOTOS: Lloyd Almond

Summer suitings by Heild Bros. ALL PHOTOS: Lloyd Almond

Technical aspects and good performance were widely stressed, with lightness and coolness being paramount and crease resistance important - a frequent requirement for today’s savvy customers. Merchant Holland and Sherry celebrated a 180-year anniversary, and Joseph Clissold part of the group, produced particularly attractive wool worsted gingham checks with a red overcheck, illustrating neatly the more casual jacketings on offer for summer.

Colours in general were light, sometimes quite subtle, with micro patterns, while other summer suitings had coloured overchecks and fresco constructions, including a light panama look, for a suave, nonchalant look. A more challenging brick orange shade, and even some pink and red, were flagged by several Yorkshire mills as exciting interest. The bright blue of the season, seen in previous shows, was included in most menswear collections. Goldentex, members of the Australian Superfine Merino club, showed a range of classically understated fine suiting fabrics as well as more jaunty coloured checks for jackets.

Lightweight wool for summer feature heavily in Goldentex’s latest collection

Lightweight wool for summer feature heavily in Goldentex’s latest collection

The concept of Merino wool with Tencel was the focus of a press conference presented to journalists in the textile trade. The soft and highly performing attributes of wool adds a new feel and several advantages and technical features to the cellulosic fibre. The new blend looks to have real benefits for the consumer as the producers of the two important fibres are committed to considerable research in quality, sustainable and traceable production.

Womenswear designs also featured fresh-looking ginghams and checks, in fine summer wool, micro-designs and also larger scale, macro-patterns with pale grounds and decoration with ribbons and fancy effects; many summer tweeds were using wool as well as lurex and some man-made fibres for shine and an unashamedly fancy look with white and silver, or pale pastels. Moon had smart wool leno chic weaves in turquoise, blue and green and 54wool/46cotton marled fabrics with a detached, casual look. Some mills stressed that top women executives are looking for fabrics which will be at the same time elegant and interesting, and so they are responding by designing bespoke collections for this growing market where wool is dominant.

Bright blues and greens presented by Moon

Bright blues and greens presented by Moon

Soft wool jerseys were seen in several collections, including those of specialist knitters from France, where there were striped or marled wool blend fabrics with softness and transparency which in some collections was almost entirely see-through.

The Woolmark Company’s stand was high profile, presenting the latest edition of The Wool Lab, with a particularly eye-catching collection of selvedges in varying colours and graphics to show the artistic value associated with these quite venerable labels of quality and historic worth. They go side-by-side with the very fashionable fabrics that are produced each season, each complementary to the other.