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Wool yarn in Florence: where artistry in fashion begins

4 July 2016

Wool was seen in many guises in Pitti Immagine Filati, Florence, as the top-quality international spinners at the 79th edition showed the world their latest work with luxury fibres. Janet Prescott was on ground to experience the latest trends.

Zegna Baruffa

Jogging was a major influence of trends at this year’s show, as showcased by Zegna Baruffa yarns in Merino wool.

Very fine and delicate, or thicker, soft and airy, Merino wool proved a great material for the artistry which forms part of the make-up of the yarn trade, which was generally agreed to be particularly energetic and imaginative this year.

The Wool Lab saw a busy flow of buyers and designers, researching detailed sourcing and designs for the new season. Overall visitor numbers were up by at least 4% with major markets present. The mood was upbeat, despite uncertainties in markets due to Brexit.  

Zegna Baruffa’s Cashwool (shirt, trousers)
offers added luxury to this outfit.

Pitti Filati saw a number of important events, including Feel the Yarn. The Pitti Immagine-backed project sees top students from across the world, including Japan, Hong Kong, China, the UK, Germany, Italy and Finland, enter the privileged world of working with top-class Italian yarns, visiting spinning mills and then their work is evaluated for the annual Feel the Yarn award. This year’s winner was Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology student Wang Yanjung, who worked with Toscana Yarns. There was also a special prize from Salvatore Ferragamo, which was awarded to Polimoda Florence student Yan Wen, who had worked with Pecci Filati yarns.

Major trends for softness and frothy constructions were key. Zegna Baruffa marked the 1978 anniversary of the invention of Cashwool - the soft, fine Merino wool which has become a classic, selling more than 200 million kilograms of Australian extrafine Merino wool.

Filpucci innovations with Merino style.

Light and airy was a major theme, like the white and cream fluffed-up Merino yarns at Safil, Sudwolle Group, knitted into large gauge jacketings with fancy raised cables and mossy looks - with names such as Brisbane indicating the origin. Merino wool was also shown in ground-breaking developments, like Filpucci's thermo-welding, incorporating Merino wool and high-tech synthetics, mixing different elements for aesthetic effects and Tollegno extrafine and ultrafine Merino wool with performance effects for #24hourworkandleisure.

An extraordinary artistic fashion show put on by Pitti Italics in the old Teatro della Pergola was much applauded. It featured knits in a wonderful fusion of theatre, dance and fashion by edgy American/Milanese designer Edward Buchanan of Sansovino 6, a testimony to multicultural attitudes with lively, gender-neutral fashion.

Interpretations of exhibitors’ yarns displayed in the Trend Area had set pieces designed for 24 hours, under the theme A Day in the Life. Conceived by Angelo Figus and Nicola Miller, the forward-looking garments utillised Merino wool or blended yarns, showing how yarns can work together and was both creative and inspiring.

Opulent designs in Merino wool.

Fashion yarns revolved around the cocooning qualities of winter wools: brushed, hairy, thicker and knitted loosely on larger gauges. Smaller bouclés came bouncing and frothy in reds and warm tones. Jacquards and geometric regular patterns in light wool jersey were particularly relevant to an emerging trend for flatter decoration, with smoother sophisticated surfaces.

Colour themes were described as wintry and dusty, some with worn faded colours - pale blues, lilacs and pinks mixed with icy tones as well as an influence from fired pottery. A Game of Thrones influence gave touches of flaring sunsets, a lot of black and deep-dyed colours with gold and silver on the yarn surface – a touch of opulence.

ALL PHOTOS: Claudio Bonoldi