Wool Gains Ground at Pitti Immagine Filati for SS/2017

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Wool Gains Ground with Aesthetics Plus Performance at Pitti Immagine Filati for SS2017

Traditionally only a smattering of wool made its way into summer collections. But since the seasons have begun to morph into each other that has changed, with the qualities of summer or winter yarns improved and made more suitable by the addition of other yarns and processes. Nowhere was this trend more in evidence than at the latest Pitti Immagine Filati, the three day yarn show held 27-29 January 2016 in Florence. This year’s edition was a lively and up-beat offering with much optimism in this industry which has seen declines over decades now. 

The buyer numbers were up at Pitti Filati, especially from the US and Europe. There was a genuine movement in the air, and a great emphasis on the competition facing fabrics which are constructed with top class luxury novelty yarns. Wool is seen as a good performing fibre with eco credentials, and this attribute was stressed across the show. Performance and ease of care are built into garments at the yarn stage in many cases.

Marketing drives to establish animal fibres as possessing qualities of both aesthetics and performance are gaining ground, with wool being the most robust example. Particular yarns which can offer washability, easy drying, water repellence, cooling or heat retaining properties are at a premium, many seen in the offer at Pitti. These included wool with luxury summer fibres like silk, either in major partner blends, or of 100 per cent quality. Trends for the Spring/Summer 2017 emphasise performance and there was a great deal of technical information provided for buyers on the yarn stands. 

Directional knitted fabric surfaces are textured and three dimensional, with ribs and ridges, contrasting coarse and soft fibres, loose knits and tightly ribbed areas. Further texture is provided by brushed surfaces and hairy effects. The colours for the new season are definite: warm reds and oranges, cooler greens and yellow, vegetable tones with brown and cream, colours of wheat and corn, many of them based on a natural palette, and then surprisingly highlighted with bright fuchsia pink, purple or cobalt blue in flashes.

Finer counts of Merino are lightweight but sometimes fluffed up for volume and airiness. Many effects were light and played on transparency mixed with linen and silk. Baruffa showed diaphanous blue H2Dry fabrics in the form of lightweight summer shifts.

Knit Club, the area for high quality knitters, with well-known names including Tous les Garcons, SRL and Gli Angeli Trico, form a resource for designers and brands seeking manufacturers commensurate with the quality of the yarns on show.

Pitti Filati laid great emphasis on the Research Space, including work with the Dyloan studios, renowned for work on bonding various materials together. Groups of research students and talented designer Carlo Volpi had shown the effects which could be achieved by using advanced yarns with different surfaces many bonded together.


The insistent march of hand knitting continues, still dominated for summer by synthetics, but more and more introducing all wool collections, or 50 per cent blends, for instance with Tencel seen at X-Compact. The trend is contributing to sales of wool in an important part of the yarn market. Filpucci Ormo, Lana Gatto, Millefili among them. Small paillettes and shiny effects were particularly sought after in this season.

– Janet Prescott

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