Rich browns, gingers, mid-grey chalk stripes or bold sporty checks of all kinds feature, as do green tones, next to straw/black and grey/black in micro-weaves and archive patterns in jacketing collections. These include shiny venetians (Savile Clifford) flannel constructions and a concentration of bold, colourful jacketing checks (Alfred Brown).
Coatings and jacketings are key menswear influences in Europe, the US and the Far East. New approaches to traditional pattern - a touch of unexpected colour like turquoise, bright pink or red, interspersed with classic houndstooths, herringbones or fine windowpane decorations - appeal to younger, trendy people across the world. Overchecks of pink, blue, yellow and lime green add surprising colour.
Wool is the major beneficiary of jacket fashion for autumn/winter 2014/15. It is sometimes blended with other fibres like cashmere, silk or even vicuna, but more often used pure. However, yarn is teased, brushed, knotted and coated to be more than the sum of its parts.
Versatility was seen at its best in the magnificent setting of Milan's Galleria Vittorio Emmanuel for On Stage - the Milano Unica showpiece for young talent in association with The Woolmark Company. This year On Stage was part of the global Campaign for Wool which, with an address in impeccable Italian by HRH the Prince of Wales, enthralled an influential audience.
Wool trends include new finishing techniques: from chunky knits to fine floating weaves and matt suitings; technical features like wind-proofing and shower repellence with membranes to respond to the climate (Zegna) while Cerruti continues the use of wool for unusual garments such as the Parcour jacket collection.
Superlight flannels flirt with a little silk and extrafine Merino wool is aimed at deconstructed jackets at Loro Piana. Light pastel wools are made up for menswear with overchecks and flannel looks at Lane Bottoli.
Tradition comes in many different guises, as designers revel in the chance to design a more fancy cloth to fit the different themes emerging for the season, many visible at the very busy stand of The Wool Lab at Milano Unica.
Paler colours, leading with winter white, progress to very slight tints and designers produce 3D tactile designs in relief for a cosy cosseting look or sexily put with lace, ribbons and fancy matelassè effects for womenswear.
Substantial coat fabrics, often surprisingly lightweight, feature bouclès in dark red, rich blue or green micro patterns (Successori Reda) many of them double-face, brushed, felted or contrasting in traditional looser weaves. Fuzzy effects, velvets, soft Merino wool fluffy yarns abound for womenswear wherepassementerie consisting of frogging and embossing effects suggest opulence and optimism.
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