Pitti Uomo 94

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Wool Science Gives Substance to Style at Pitti Uomo 94 

Held in Florence from 12-15 June the exhibition for Spring/Summer 2019 was a feast of colour, quirks, and not a little fun. At the same time brands are making efforts to reduce burdens on the environment. This is good news for wool, Janet Prescott reports.

The latest news from Pitti Uomo PU94 is good for wool.  Amid the bright colours being shown for S/S '19 exhibitors at PItti Uomo 94 paid attention to the current preoccupation that industry and governments cut down on pollution and waste. In response, many top fashion brands have made specific efforts to reduce burdens on the environment. 

Natural fibres have the advantage. The protocols for assessing  natural  fibres and processes,  producing scientific data to back up claims of benefits, and  then produce attested results, play well with  the in-depth research and scientific verification which applies to wool. It is the sort of verification specifically undertaken over the past years by IWTO’s scientists and members. Exhibitors are keen to access and produce real evidence for their claims of sustainability. 

Technology allied to the natural qualities of wool is a winner.  The washable stylish Merino suit has developed into a highly prized item for practical business wear at TMB and a video showed it in action.

Reda last year revealed a new line of high performance wool fabric in Reda Active, which would react to climate and high-level demands. This year they honed the vision by developing a degradable polymer membrane; to achieve a completely sustainable method of all-weather suiting.

Seas is a   high quality new label with a Loro Piana provenance, founded by two brothers addressing active fashion sportswear on land and sea, stylish design capsules which are high performance for specific areas and emphasising bio elements, recycling, and sustainable practice.  

 Z Zegna’s activewear in Techno Merino fabric was presented in a spectacular tennis game set-piece, various fabrics and styles illustrating wool’s exceptional performance capacity and versatility for both players and spectators.  

The fashion mood was upbeat.  Bright colours – red, green, blue, yellow, were offset with white, producing a summery seaside effect as stripes and florals in jackets, shirtings, accessories and luggage for men.  Superfine wool was used for base layers and performance clothing and fine wool e.g. Cruciani, while advances in technical machinery and processes have led to the introduction of revolutionary seamless warp knitting, excellent examples at Falke.

Provenance stories abound.   Joshua Ellis, Yorkshire specialist weavers with history, introduced an attractive range of scarves in Escorial wool, this ancient breed of sheep keeping its purity over the centuries, the highly crimped and soft wool’s exclusivity an extra attraction

Lightweight unlined or semi-lined wool woven jackets and a rather 60s look, made for a more flamboyant choice of patterns; oversize checks and bright flecks. Classico Italia exhibitors showed unlined tailored jackets in colourful cloth with knops and patterns. Gabriele Padini’s lively individual designs and quirky suits and outfits put together with flair, were obviously speaking to younger buyers, while Cantrell’s famous lightweight knitted blazers and jackets made the cut.  Larding too, had completely unstructured knitted jackets, some of them printed with stripes and other designs.

Florals bloomed on shirts, ties and luggage, accessories, and trousers, often highlighted with areas of black among the camouflage-like dense patterning. An inspired project brought together by The Woolmark Company with Mini pulled wool centre stage, with young international designers interpreting the images suggested by the original 1960s Mini cars.

Georgia, Guest Nation at Pitti Uomo showed the appeal of wool and other funky fabrics to all six young designers, whose original designs continued to show its versatility for imaginative design in 2019,

– Janet Prescott

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