Wool Trending: The Message From Paris for 2017/18

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Wool Trending: The Message From Paris for 2017/18

PV was another good indication that wool is essential for the autumn winter offer of 2017/18. It appeared in many guises, in fine jersey for next to skin technical wear, in soft and fine knitwear, and also in more conventional cosy and comforting forms for winter outerwear, jackets and coats.

Wool is also essential for the current trend for individualisation, for the move towards marking out by design, colour and quality, one collection from another. This resulted in collections that were inventive and interesting, and showed how designers can appeal to the current mood in a way which stresses the strengths of particular brands and designs. 

Tweed is key for the new season. Designs range from traditional Scottish designs to Chanel type decorated versions, with ribbon additions and different yarns woven into the surface.; PV always attracts womenswear collections as well as menswear, and this year the more decorated and imaginative collections were seen to play about with colour and texture using various colours and stitches to provide a cheerful, bright fabrics. There was a newcomer to PV in Cape Tweed this year, which showed South African design from Hinterveldt in Merino wool interpreted in tweed which included blue, pink and hot colours in various fancy stitches, woven with textures and 3 D effects using pure wool. Lanificio Cerruti showed grey and black fabrics with raised surfaces also with coloured overdyes giving a 1950’s look to womenswear fabrics. 

Other tweeds like Magee of Ireland showed warm nut brown colours for men’s jacketings, while traditional Yorkshire mills developed coatings and suitings many of which used green based fabrics with coloured window panes as overchecks. Harris Tweed Hebrides displayed the many brilliant colours and also complex design effects in featherweight jacketing a for men and women.

Overcoatings and jacketings were the main area of focus. Large knitted ribs and brushed wools for coatings, fancy stitching and colours like red, purple and pink in light and airy constructions vied with harsher, more substantial versions in heavier weights up to 400 plus grams. Big canvases with windowpane checks or stripes, some of them overshadowed by felting or brushing had a bold and arty look.

Smoother surfaces also came through with a more restrained look: lodens, Melton and twills in camel coloured wool, greys, and darker tones from British and Italian mills and a honey coloured coating showed as sophisticated coats by Chinese exhibitor Danmao, which uses Australian Merino for its fabrics and garments which are targeted at the growing Chinese consumer market as well as to European and other developed markets, an interesting development.

Men’s suitings often came in the darker spectrum, mid too dark grey, often with shadow checks and an urban, no nonsense look. More classic, superfine wool was woven with subtler decoration, very fine stripes as well as some more funky bright gingham checks including shades like ginger, and the bright blue which has characterised the past few seasons.

Darker suiting designs went for rich browns, sometimes a touch of pink or purple, as well as conventional grey and navy, but nearly all had a subtle colour decoration, sometimes only noticeable in close-up, small points of colour. Micro patterns, birdseyes and small checks also mixed the formal and country.

Wool flannels are trending, with grey versions and some stripe decoration for classic cloths appealing to the younger generation. Designers brought new interpretations to classic fabric designs. Prince of Wales checks were recoloured, and some traditional designs like houndstooths were in macro size for black and white coatings. Blazer stripes were bold in navy and also a wine colour which appeared in several collections.

Colourful selvedges are to the fore, the importance of the branding growing every season and resulting in clever motifs and the announcing of the specific collection in some cases. This origin information ties up with the growth of information provided about fabric, content and provenance found to a greater extent on swing tickets at point of sale and reflects the interest expressed by customers, encouraged by mills, to check the history of the products.

In the Knitwear Solutions section, showcasing developments in knitwear, complex jacquards included shifted stitches creating diagonals and ribs. Large gauge knits in soft thicker wools for winter, and rolled and pleated constructions for sweaters gave both movement and warmth. Some of these prototypes were knitted in one piece, showing how complicated machine knitting has become. White marls on grey, beige and black jerseys gave a cloudy, graphical look, and hand knitting played about with random effects of yarn in blue and white for instance. Some fine wool knits were almost transparent, in dark coloured voile.

Wool remains integral to looks for the new season for Autumn/winter 2017/18.

- Janet Prescott


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