Pitti Uomo 95 - A/W 2019/20

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Wool sustains its reputation in the era of eco awareness at lively Pitti Uomo 95 

Exhibitors and buyers at Pitti Uomo 95 responded to current preoccupations on sustainability, technical quality and novelty with an air of bold and optimistic renewal. Wool is firmly in the mix 

Menswear for autumn and winter 2019/20 layers cosy, comfortable clothes with serious performance in warm high-quality fabrics. Looks ranged from tough, rugged and ready for the outdoors, accessorised with ice-axe, ropes and boots, to a more sporty, colourful approach, some featuring flocked logos on knit blousons, stripes and badges, techno features mixing technology with challenge, referencing skiwear old and new.

Wool benefited from the growing use of information and naming of fabric, fibre and its origin; from  thick and chunky yarn grown and processed in northern countries and islands, Harris Tweed, Shetland, Finland and Ireland,   to fine wool from Australia, New Zealand,  South Africa and Argentina, examples being  Escorial soft scarves,  Finnish wind-cheating Merino accessories, Spanish on-trend jumpers, Merino inner layers worn next to skin, Irish craft knits. Many wool fabrics were teamed up with the latest membranes, finishes or fleece-filled duvet jackets.  Guest Nation Portugal brought together artisan products including pure wool knitwear of high quality - traditional to contemporary, with a long pedigree.

The colourful trend for large and bold pattern seen earlier in the year at the important fabric and yarn shows brought stripes, checks, plaids in bright colours like yellow, red, black Victorian suits and accessories. Scottish tartans, Austrian Tyrol wool hats and jackets, with traditional suits, giant shawls and perky woolly neckerchiefs.  Pitti Uomo’s offer was lively and full of clashing movement. 

The focus on bright colour and texture, hairy tweeds, smooth cardigans, large puffed jackets, shiny insets and 3D knits with ancient patterns and intricate stitches, contrasted with i-technology and climate control built into jackets. Bright colours, shiny surfaces and reflective zips and badges, with rows of models in jackets and suits, assembled in bright crowds inside and out of the Fortezza..

Extreme performance designs inspired by active pursuits tended to feature subtle greys, mushrooms, lichen green browns and dark navy, using the colours of natural areas, or indeed urban settings enlivened by unexpected areas of bright performance fabric. 

The advantages of high-quality natural fibres interest the end customer, and the trade is responding.  During the week fashion and textile leaders from the UK and Italy gathered at a high-profile symposium in the British Institute in Florence to discuss cooperation on sustainability.

Important knitwear brands and heritage labels, like Johnstons of Elgin and Barbour increased their range of all-wool designs with innovative results. Italian labels with pedigree are stepping out on new paths. Old ways of rearing local sheep for wool and natural dyeing were explored by Sease the new luxury athleisure label with a strong environmental commitment. The founders two Loro Piana brothers are seeking to revive ‘Sopravissano wool’ in Italy, and the ancient bio-based soft blue dye, Guado.

Rewoolution the chic outdoor brand of the Reda Group, mixes sportswear and activewear using dark Merino wool for a series of ultra-simple garments which are both climates controlled with sophisticated technical features, and ultimately sustainable. 

 ZZegna another venerable famous name - Ermenegildo Zegna   - worked wonders with urban fashion and Techno Merino shown in a lavish bicycling stand referring to Urban life. 

Overall, skinny suits and contrast waistcoats picked up on revamped classic worsted designs in the brown spectrum with speckled effects, slubs and marls, highlighted by ginger and tan, while knitted blazers and unlined new suit jackets made the most of slubbed wool yarn.

 Pitti Uomo Guest designer Y/Project used an interesting mix of netting over a pale blue tartan for one of the designs in the night time evening show, showing yet more innovation.

– Janet Prescott


Image credits: THE STYLE STALKER, AKAstudio - collective

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