Last month, we travelled to Florence, Italy for the 83rd Pitti Filati, where the world’s top Italian and wider-European spinners showcased their Autumn/Winter 19/20 yarn collections to an increased audience of almost 5,500 buyers from across the globe.
Yarn: Transeasonal weights, tonal novelty and mohair aware.
Key influences within animal fibre markets appeared to drive yarn innovations this season. Wool prices have increased yet again this season, driven by a rising demand for the fibre, as well as a continuing consumer demand for traceable, ethical and sustainable sourcing.
With the recent point of spotlight on mohair, a key fibre for autumn winter yarn collections, mills have clearly reacted quickly, by offering alternatives and flexibility within their ranges. For example, Tollegno have launched ‘Air’, a fully-traceable merino wool yarn with a very similar appearance and handle to a luxury fine mohair, and luxury alpaca blend mill Filitaly, are offering this season to replace the mohair content in their cashmere blend ‘Sandokan’ with alpaca for a relatively small minimum buy.
Traceability and sustainable wool sourcing continues with Tollegno offering a beautifully luxurious guaranteed 15.5 micron cashmere that can be traced to farm, alongside Biella who can offer traceability to farm for their merino qualities, and an impressive offer from Sesia who guarantee that all wool that they use is certified non-mulsed, whilst being fully stock-supported in a large colour range, and go one step further with their chlorine-free organic-certified quality ‘Bio Merino’ again, in a fully stock-supported colour range.
A focus on finer transeasonal fibres dominated novelty, with superfine boucles (Tollegno ‘Astrakan’ and Lanecardate ‘Balloo’) and fine lofty summer-fibre blends such as Filitaly’s ‘Miracle’ and GTI’s brushed fine cashmere silk blend ‘Follow G’.
Tonal novelty colours emerged in painted and twisted qualities, such as striking new print-dyed offering in Zegna Baruffa’s soft-twist mid-gauge Merino quality ‘Maxi’, E.Miroglio’s brushed ‘Oriente’, with it’s softened contrast chainette core, and a new range of yarn-striped and irregular-dyed colour offerings in Lanecardate’s fine merino and alpaca blend ‘Blonde.’
Recycled fibres including Newlife™ a recycled polyester filament fibre were shown in blends such as E.Miroglio’s ‘Green Wool’, blended with a long-lasting shrink-resistant merino wool. Pecci showcased their new quality ‘Break’ a luxurious yet competitively priced blend of 30% recycled cashmere, merino wool and nylon.
High and refined performance yarns appeared in luxury, with Tollegno launching a high-performance pill-resistant version of their fine merino quality Harmony, called ‘Harmony 4.0’ with the 4.0 relating to a guaranteed 4 pill performance score, and high-end wool mill Lanecardate introducing a luxuriously practical moisture-wicking blend of superfine wool and tencel, ‘Active’ which they have confidently fully stock-supported from launch.
Raw and natural mid-chunky gauge and hand-knit qualities at GTI offered a confident proposal with their new qualities ‘Follow G’, ‘Sally G’ and ‘Storm G’, varying weights of a raw, crunchy sheen silk, and ‘Loira’ a true roving wool suitable for hand knit.
Trend direction: W.W.W
The Spazio Ricera, Pitti Filati’s creative hub, presented the Autumn/Winter 2019-20 trend direction, curated by Angelo Figus and Nicola Miller. Once again the mood was presented across 6 themes, influenced by a generation of emerging adults who have been born, raised and conditioned in the digital age.
X.X.X.L. is led by the notion of love and sexuality in the digital age. Fantasy, experimentation, exaggeration and surrealism inspire texture, stitch and application, whilst a typically lustful palette of pinks and reds is distorted by fetish fluorescents and metallics. Fuzzy boucles are juxtaposed with wet synthetics.
Abbreviated and symbolic messaging inspires W.A.P.P. Symbolic graphics and lettering are literal, obvious and basic, placed within a textured void of criss-crossing, wavering and noisy textured stitches. Diffused screen-filtered colours in citrus yellow and lime washes are lifted by slightly stronger and crass oranges, blues, purples and turquoises.
S.E.L.F. focuses on the concept of the self-presentation of ones self. How we brand ourselves, how we sell ourselves, and how we knowingly, and unknowingly distort ourselves. Photo filters form the basis of the palette in warm dark greys and pale nude-like sepia. Flattering cool filters influence the blues, lilacs and pinks that vary the palette. Self image is distorted by heavy-handed cut stripes and grids, inspiring textured linear stitch and large-scale weave and ripple structures.
E.B.U.Y. creates a visual discourse on both consumerism, and the notion of the internet as a platform that enables many to design and sell on a global scale. Therefore, hand-crafted macrame, embroidery and fabric manipulation sit alongside accurately repetitive small-scale textured stitches, inspired by industrial warehouse surfaces. Corporate greys and primary yellow are softened by natural yet vibrant oranges and browns, and softer and cosier greys.
In a time where the news is influences by many, and not few, where we have an ease of access to voice of views, and influence news itself, N.E.W.S. presents this concept in the form of loud, obsessive prose, alongside colour-charts inspired by print pressing, and technicolour television. Pointillism, and pixelated fonts inspired by newspaper print inspire graphic stitches, whilst engineered fine lines appear in pattern and texture. Newspaper and print-press substrates inspire the nude basis of the palette, whilst dark ink charcoals and blacks are lifted by cyan, magenta and yellow.
G.A.M.E quite literally focuses on the increasingly consuming and reality-blurring world of online gaming, where we have an alternate existance, and alternate identity and persona. Geometric stitches are influences by character adornment and armour, and tribal markings and story-telling are represented in naive and mystical relief patterns. In application, pattern is placed, rather than an all-over repeat. Bright warning reds and blues are quietened with mystical emeralds and Rubys. Earthy browns and dark sky blues create a darker base.
Knit – Distorted geometrics, softened engineering and relief stitches
Across the stands, clear themes emerged in pattern and stitches. The superfine lofty fibres were presented in wavering linear and textured patterns, softened with brushing, whilst classic checks, and basket weaves were modernised with surreal distortion, oversizing and pixelated texture.
This year’s ‘Feel the Yarn’ competition, which promotes and supports emerging knitwear creatives from renowned fashion schools around the world, was shortlisted to 26 students, of which Royal College of Art student, Margot Vaaderpass, was named winner and subsequently awarded a cash price from Biella yarn (Sudwolle) to enable her to continue her studies. Internships by Ports and Traffic Creativita were awarded to another RCA student, Ellis Jaz and Buke Cayci, a student from Hochschule Niederrhein.
The overall feel of Autumn/Winter 2019/20 at this edition of Pitti Filati was a direction of finer, transeasonal blends and fresh and playful colour ranges that can transcend seasonal expectation, underpinned by an awareness of a continuing consumer and buyer-driven push for progressing traceability, sustainability and ethics with raw fibre. A focus on practical luxury further highlights the slow-and-steady trend towards utilitarian knitwear, for the everyday, to live in.
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