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New Yarns Sweep Clean for AW 2020/21

The fashion chain starts at Pitti Filati, where the world's best yarn manufacturers presented their collections for next year. Janet Prescott reports from Florence. 

The trade can expect a good reaction to new yarns for the 2020/21 AW season, judging by the reception received at Pitti Filati this June. The collections were displayed to a good number of buyers (final figures put the number at 5,300+) and visitors from  European and other countries, interested in luxury and fancy yarns, colour trends and knitwear developments.

Trends centred firmly round natural fibres in many areas, exploiting the gamut of colours in undyed wool, cashmere, mohair and alpaca, with silk, cotton, linen and other natural yarns in the mix, all in the context of well thought out and certificated tracing of products.

Wool was the major fibre used, to be expected in the Autumn Winter collections.  This year’s themes included natural qualities and colours and volume without weight; cloud-like Merino yarns from Australian and New Zealand and South American flocks.  Conventional thicker yarns included tweeds from sheep born and bred in Northern climates, including Scotland and England, with their thicker robust qualities, popular at UK Shepley Yarns and Knoll yarns in particular.

Wool was blended with many other animal products; alpaca, camel hair, mohair, all revelling in the different tones to be found in the hair and fleece of different breeds of animals, and even from one individual animal to another. Collections of undyed wool yarn featured fibre selected for different tones and shades spun together for novel looks.

These are signs of the current preoccupation in almost every developed country about the eco system and how manufacture and choices in clothing and fabrics can mitigate some of the worst-case scenarios of pollution and environmental degradation. Natural looking yarns dyed in soft tones were shown knitted with knops, bouclés and twists, sought after to make a more individual product with all-embracing eco and green looks. 

The new theme of the Spazio Ricerca, the research area at Pitti Filati Heritage, showed the exchange of crafts and ideas which can affect real products, appealing to a modern audience.  Here the focus was the 1950s to 80s period, featuring colour and concepts with real value, and resulting in a new look at luxury and fashionability inspired by that era. The 1980s was also a reference at the major exhibition of Pour Toi knits from the archives of the fashion college Modateca Deanna, the quintessential bling of the era, with exaggerated shapes and brash colour contrasts which caught the eye of many a designer at Pitti Filati. 

The high quality of today’s yarn and knitwear was emphasised throughout. The attraction of patterns found in traditional wool knitwear styling was also obvious in the Research Area.  Checks, stripes, diamonds and the inspiration of Fair isles were revisited, to show off different yarns, sometimes recoloured or with shiny, /matt contrasts, samples produced to show off yarns in blends of various elements including glitter and Lurex looks.

This year’s Feel the Yarn competition reached its 10th anniversary, marked with the suffix X,  making  connections between the luxury yarn industry and the exceptional students and international education establishments involved,   revelling in high quality and fashionable yarns they are given to work with,  selected from the yarns provided from the growing number of top  Pitti Filati exhibitors participants. .

Feel the Yarn X was celebrated in style with anniversary congratulations at a garden party, including a display of the garments made by the 27 students from 11 countries, who had used a variety of yarns, thick and thin wool, blends with cashmere, cottons and synthetics to interpret the theme of Co-creation.  The competition receives great support from the Pitti Immagine Foundation and is a point of interest throughout the week.

 Customising yarns and knitwear is a new trend for the luxury area, following its general success in the jeans sector. Called CustomEASY, yarns of varying type are knitted up by some of the exhibitors at KnitClub are further customised by a specialist team in this sector, a project curated by Angelo Figus to show how the production chain can increase value and authenticity all round.

– Janet Prescott

Image credits: AKAstudio-collective, Janet Prescott

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