Art and Craft for AW 2017/18

You are here

Art and Craft for AW 2017/18

Yarns for the Autumn/Winter season next year will be light and cosy and will do more than merely keep one warm. Janet Prescott reports from Pitti Filati 79

The look was very artistic this season, with a wealth of ideas and individuality. Animal fibres were particularly up front, especially wool which was often in 100 per cent qualities, whether extrafine, superfine or more chunky versions for winter knitwear. Alpaca, camel hair, angora and the like, even possum hair, were all combined in some way with wool, which was often an 80-90 per cent partner, being the principal winter choice.

Trending colours favoured natural shades punctuated by bright warm tones: red, orange yellow, as well as icy winter tones pale blue and green, the latter group sometimes incorporating silk, Lurex or tiny paillettes in the yarn to accentuate the look. A sombre, Game of Thrones idea also appeared; darker rich tones, blacks and dark greys gave an alternative buzz, in hairy mixes with heavier wool.

Whether Merino from Australia, New Zealand or South America, or lambswool from the British Isles, wool fulfilled the style criteria of being spun into warm yarns and brushed, twisted and looped for knitting into garments which have an airy, cosseting quality as well as warmth. Layering is at the heart of styling, so that garments can be added or removed ambient temperatures change so yarns are still light, with much extrafine or superfine Merino, Shetland and coloured lambswool.

Technical Blends Add an X Factor to Natural FibresRonel Jordaan Interior Pitti Filati 79

The mills at Pitti Immagine Filati had put serious investment into the development of attractive yarns for garments to keep the wearer comfortable in all sorts of weather and environments. This was by treatments, construction or combinations with other, often manmade fibres, to lend an extra factor to make them easy-care, stretchy, water repellent or to give them extra softness, however natural the fibre might be.

Safil’s X-Compact technology applied to superfine Merino wool aims for extremely smooth surfaces with minimum pilling, while Baseman treated mercerised wool enables the fibre to be used for activewear needing high performance standards. Baruffa’s Cashwool celebrated 40 years on the market, the soft handle pure wool retaining its original characteristics of softness. H2Dry is their easy care option for wool which is gathering strength. Tollegno 1900 explored Ultrafine and Extrafine Merino in technical blends with carbon, Tencel and siliconised nylon. Other experimental yarns and decoration used various methods to fix one material to another, like thermo welding.

Trend Area Highlights Knitwear's Versatility

Trend Area, the Spazio Ricerca, in the heart of Pitti Filati, had a very well received collection named 24 hours, featuring a cleverly  staged exhibition of knitted samples and garments, designed to be worn for different occasions during course of a day in winter, conjured up by Angelo Figus and Nicola Miller. They were conceived with great imagination, using the newest yarns of the exhibitors, and resulted in very interesting ideas about modern living and clothing.

Activities served to underline the way knitwear can be used for almost all scenarios, at home, biking to the office in a knitted suit, doing yoga or mediation wearing outfits in light and layered jersey, and one called Walking the dog, where Merino yarn formed an attractive leisure ensemble with dog intarsias (pictured right). Texture and contrast underlined the almost limitless choices open to fashion, where garments need to be customised according to individual demands.

Green Credentials Worked into Seasonal Themes

The green focus on fashion, far from weakening, is becoming a necessity for many yarn spinners, the first stage in a substantial certification process through to the finished garment which has taken off in high value parts of the market in the UK Europe and the USA as well as Japan and South Korea. Most of these are based around wool with its recognised natural origin, biodegradable and renewable credentials. Green gardens and flower motifs were a running theme this season as a style pointer too, some receptions being held outdoors, like Safil’s in a beautiful Florentine garden. The standards for traceability and responsible manufacturing are strict and involve real expenditure, taken up widely in the sophisticated market shown at Pitti Filati, but the over-riding quality of the offer remains dynamic creativity and artistic results.

 - Janet Prescott

Find a laboratory near you

IWTO Newsletter

Stay up to date with IWTO - subscribe to our newsletter today.