Filo Moves to Elegance, Thanks to Wool

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Filo, held 22-23 February in Milan, continued the feel-good factor seen this exhibition season, looking even further ahead, to the 2018/19 Autumn/ Winter season. Filo is always a good fair for animal fibres and wool in particular, which has been growing in popularity at the high end.  With a 14 per cent increase in visitors, including many more from overseas, the earlier timing of the fair paid off for Filo, which was very busy throughout the two days.

Filo focuses on weaving yarns, but there is a growing number of mills producing knitting yarns, including hand knits, many for top designers and labels.  Wool played a large part in the line-up of interesting yarns. The surprising thing is the diversity, end uses and number of blends which have been developed; wool/alpaca blends, wool/cotton, wool/linen/silk.  Wool is also teamed with polyamide or polyester for sparkling effects, crimped, knopped or twisted to give it a new texture. Industria Italiana’s Tex range showed bouclés, brushed yarns, slubs, frisés or small knops, in superkid mohair, silk, fine wool and baby alpaca. These had a matt look and a soft surface, sometimes with polyacrylic or polyester added for shine. 

The search for difference continues as a major driver in the market, each exhibitor endeavouring to offer the buyer a piece of ingenuity not to be found at their competitors. So there is a great deal of investment money directed to research and development, especially by Italian companies. The result is novelty blends, new qualities, as well as technical finishes and treatment.  It is the way for the top of the range mills to compete.  Some effects are shiny, waterproof, waxy or glistening, to chime with edgy, urban looks that appeal to men’s and womenswear equally.

In addition to the fancy, decorative look, as might be expected, a new wool look is emerging, one of flatter designs, relying on texture from different yarn weights and gauges, which are woven or knitted together with a more sophisticated, but still complex outcome.  Zegna Baruffa’s fine wool yarn example showed thick and thin proportions in the weave, an underplayed but interesting surface; simple but elegant.

The trend area included fabric displayed alongside yarn qualities, knitted and woven and showing different colour effects.  Colour combinations were simple and elegant.  Blue continued to dominate in the trend area.  Navy was a key tonal choice, with a brighter shade of blue, from important indigo shades to pale blue, teamed with suave mid-grey. Undyed natural fibres underpin the popular natural, ecological theme. These pale tones were sometimes interspersed with mustard and brown for highlights, while fiery red and orange highlighted accents and little knots of colour.

 – Janet Prescott

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