Pitti Filati Shows Some Fancy Steps

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Pitti Filati July 2017 IWTO fair Pitti Immagine Filati in Florence majored on colour and fancy effects which celebrates the top end of the yarn trade for knitwear. It concentrated on natural fibres, animal fibre, often using ingredients like Yak, (e.g.at Biella Yarn Suedwolle group) in combination with Merino wool, the major fibre for the season AW 2018/19. There were also versions with alpaca, mohair, baby camel, which, when combined with wool, made the yarn look more unusual, sometimes lighter and more airy.

The winter collections led to collections of thick, fluffy yarns. The complexity of surface relief, pattern and intricacy of stitches is the result of in-depth research which is increasingly carried out on raw materials, processing and spinning for converting into knitwear. This was a focus of Pitti Filati this season. It was seen at the Spazio Ricerca entitled The Human Edition, taking in visions of Nature and Man, e.g. Medicine and Music, giving a rich seed-bed of ideas, and a lab for designers to explore.  Artistically realised by Angelo Figus, Nicola Miller and staged by Alessandro Moradel.

The emphasis on sustainability and elimination of harmful substances and practices has widened out into a more comprehensive approach. There is in general, serious consideration of management and re-use of materials, together with adherence to agreed standards, all the while retaining creativity.

Botto Giuseppe is committed to sustainable development with its Naturalis Fibra, wool centred, which has resulted in a great deal of success, both traceable and sustainable.  Filpucci celebrating 50 years, is wedded to the idea of luxury without waste, mixing re-engineered cashmere with wool, aiming for low impact knitwear with luxury looks. The Exclusive line presents choice yarns with a Superfine Merino (15.5 - 17.5 micron) and Extrafine Merino (19.5 micron) base. New among its season’s offerings is Yik, a natural blend of extrafine Merino wool and yak, with a voluminous touch and brilliant colours. Biella Yarn had a striking image of a green hand, the approach deeply entwined with sustainability.

Genderless design was one feature of Feel the Yarn, the Pitti Immagine Filati competition, under the aegis of Ornella Bignami, challenging top-class young designers at various universities from Asia and Europe, who have the opportunity to work with luxury yarns from Italian spinners. Their finger on the pulse included re-working traditional clothing, and mixtures of hand work, machine techniques and digital aspects. Won by Yuanlung_Kao from the Royal College of Art in London, whose brushed wool and mohair designs were voted winners by the Jury (who included the writer) and visitors to the show.

Wool had an extra high-profile boost because the Accademia Costume e Moda -Modatecca Diana, Masters students, were given the chance to show designs in a runway show, supported by the Fondazione Pitti Immagine Discovery, The Woolmark Company and Zegna Baruffa with MaxMara and Avant Toi. The designers interpreted themes from the latest Wool Lab.

Various techniques include new finishes and construction bringing technical advantages.  Wool scored highly here, with Tollegno 1900 producing washable garments in various mixes, like Merino with polyacrylic; Zegna Baruffa’s H2Dry in Merino has become widely demanded for washable top-quality knitwear.

Colours featured several distinct palettes; the ubiquitous bright blue, some of it shiny with silk mixes, orange deep green and caramel, and watercolour looks like pale green, washed out pink and metallic yarns, sometimes given bronze or silver effects, as well as an urban palette of thicker gauge greys and blacks, with flashes of colour like red or purple.


- Janet Prescott

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