Pitti Uomo 97

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Super Furry Animals:
Cosy, brushed and layered looks with eco attitude favour wool at Pitti Uomo 97. Janet Prescott reports. 

Wool found its sweet spot despite some uncertainty in the markets as colour warmth and environmental agendas dominated fashion trends at Pitti Immagine Uomo 97 in Florence, 7-10 January.  Domestic Italian attendance was affected by proximity to the Christmas holiday week, but the show was aided by startlingly colourful designs, and a good international response. 

All Change 

Knitted clothing is particularly important for many reasons – speed, cost, technical development of knitting machinery and no-waste manufacturing. It is a real development to watch, many in the industry believe.

Change was expressed in colour for knitwear and outerwear, with thick, cosy layers, frequently in wool. Colours were bright to tempt the purchase of a whole new look; yellow, red, purple, black, and blue, tartans and checks, and solid blocks. 

Colourful woven wool linings were used to surprise in conventional seeming macs, coats and parkas, and wool shells, often detachable.   Versatile shapes and designs gave an impetus to the cross-over and genderless styles designed to be chosen by modern Sartorialists, also seen in the Pitti Uomo runway shows such as the Jil Sanders collection.

Italian tailoring took on the brights for soft wool constructions in re-coloured checks, dramatic reworking of traditional designs and warmer tones overall. Harris Tweed designs in Scottish wool with its characteristic flecks of colour were brighter than ever. Coats were thicker and heavier, in Donegals and brushed fabric, perhaps in response to the thermo discipline advocated by green groups to turn down the heating.

The suit is no longer routinely matching, a trend from the street; denim jeans are worn with worsted jackets and pinstripe shirts, and worsted suit trousers can have a jean cut, put together in a more formal way if needed. High class suit brands led out with jackets, lined or unlined, waistcoats in contrasting designs and wool trousers with a jean cut, enormous scope for eclectic looks, widely seen.

Technical wool meets Fashion

Wool was chosen for highly technical parkas, knitwear, shirts and accessories, nearly all in Merino wool or wool blends, showing how the emphasis on sustainability is visibly increasing the use of wool, from knits to active sportswear.

Woolrich, marking 190 years with a spectacular installation with real snow, showed the latest parka developments, the outer layer in Loro Piana Storm System pure wool. Similar trendsetting came   at Sease and Rewoolution with a professional level of weather protection featuring technical wool fabrics. The Woolmark Company showed the latest results of projects with high end sports companies seeking to develop weather- sensitive garments with multi-faceted powers on land and sea.

Cutting edge wool fabrics and clothing offer ultra- fashionable   designs to keep the wearer warm, dry and safe in the Alps or the streets of Tokyo, Paris and New York. Undyed wool and fabrics with deliberate flaws underline visually the natural nature of fabrics.

 Accessories  are very important, wool was everywhere here  from  colourful wool beanie hats, to footwear, consuming more wool than ever in active technical socks and also knitted shoes,   huge dramatically coloured  enveloping scarves,  furry sweaters in fishermen’s patterns,  all  of them tapping into the quest for things traditional and pure,  especially  liking named wool breeds such as Merino, Escorial , Shetland  and Irish wool.

Campaign for Wool: 10 years of sustainability 

Pitti Uomo’s grand opening ceremony in the Renaissance grandeur of the Palazzo Vecchio saw the screening of a personal message from HRH the Prince of Wales to mark the 10th anniversary of the Campaign for Wool. It was also shown to a select multinational audience at the elegant British Institute in Florence. It marked out the continuing relevance of the Campaign’s founding principles of sustainability.

Wool’s profile has probably never been higher than at this year’s Pitti Uomo 97.


Image Credit - AKAStudio Collective, Blauer, Janet Prescott

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