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Milano Unica showcases elegant light wool fabrics
Feb '14
The most elegant and finely wrought cool, light fabrics were shown in Milan for Summer 2015 and it was not surprising that wool played a major part, especially among the high-range suitings on offer at Idea Biella. There is a new emphasis on culture of all sorts in the air, and the added value offered by the classy exhibitors in Milan is based on craft, aesthetics and knowledge built up over generations.
There is a strong focus on real performance fabrics which retain high style. Requirements include minimal creasing and maximum recovery as well as elegance. The addition of membranes and finishes to provide extra protection from the wind, wet or excessive temperature swings is key, while wool is seen as an essential element in the form of Cool Wool.
Light worsted cloths, 220 to 260gms with smooth finishes associated with the classic came in brighter and more interesting colours than of late, such as tomato red and cream at Ermenegildo Zegna, whose extra-fine Australian wool fabrics caught the mood. Checks abounded, and after a period of absence, stripes were appearing in directional collections.
Moda In's design bent was themed on simple Smart Basics but emphasised extra qualities and value. Blends of high-quality fibres gave extra fashion advantage. Even a small amount of mohair, 5 per cent for instance, allied to a fine Merino fabric, gave a different, unusual handle with a hint of shine and reflective qualities.
Silk as the classic partner of worsteds was found often in just under half of the blends for lustre. Linen blends were used in fabrics which would be made into unlined jackets and suits for summer. Wool/cashmere was also used for jacketings with light weight and a soft handle.
The colour blue appeared in all its guises, as at worsted weavers Alfred Brown, going from pale dusky blue through cobalt to dark blue. Unusual colours such as pale pink and checks with green appeared at Vitale Barberis Canonico. Creams and whites were accent colours throughout for backgrounds and overchecks especially for womenswear.
As indicated in The Wool Lab, technically advanced yarn spinning and weaving was evident, such as wool/viscose, wool/linen or Loro Piana's ultrafine Super 150s wool and silk 600, crisp voile crepes or high twist mouliné weaves. Sport fabrics were displayed according to techno attributes; rain and wind systems, fabric bonded with wool and silk and a functional membrane, an emphasis repeated in other collections like Botto Giuseppe.
Decoration on plain light wools, micro woven designs, tiny spots, pied de poule and chevrons at Reda gave a fascinating new look creating optical illusions, tying in with a vibrant urban look. Some mills reported buyers looking for fancier design qualities at the same time as bold blockblack and whites and plain weaves. High twist mechanical stretch was mentioned by many, making for highly responsive fabric worn with elegant insouciance.


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