The future is bright and sustainable says Pitti Immagine Filati

31 January 2018

Pitti Filati often sets the design agenda, as it did for the Spring/Summer 2019 in Florence 24-26 January, as Janet Prescott discovers.

Natural yarns, fresh spring colours, impossibly light and airy knits aimed to please the most demanding international visitors. The continuing emphasis on detailed research and discovery started the momentum into a vibrant spring season, and the theme of sustainability underpinned the session. The Responsible Innovation mood tops the chart with its high “eco-centric” ratio declared Filpucci, a major driver in this area.

Pitti Filati’s Research area, Spazio Ricerca (directed by Angelo Figus, Nicola Miller, set by Alessandro Morade) is the result of months of detailed work and imagination. This year the theme was RAW, a harking back to the essence of things, before they are sullied by interpretations or philosophies which have their own agendas, a reaction to over-interpretation. For instance, one of the word associations was ‘raw data’. The concept of Raw brought to life the raw fibres: beautifully displayed threads, knitted fabrics, weaves and clouds of diaphanous designs with soft and romantic colouration developed with the spinners and knitters, including the specialist manufacturers at Knit Club. Extra-light and extra-fine spun yarns were mixed with unspun threads, knots and mixed media, books and artefacts embellished trends.

Spring colours dominated: pale pastel nuances, with slight variations, delicate white, silver and pale greens, with sparkling sequins in fine wool knitwear at Cariaggi. More exotic colours were linked to far-flung voyages, picking up Eastern cultures at Zegna Baruffa or Indian inspiration at Cariaggi.

Natural fibres have become aristocrats of yarn, with Merino standing out among the animal and plant ingredients. Merino was seen blended with unusual partners like hemp, linen, viscose and Cordura. Peter Ackroyd of The Woolmark Company and President of the International Wool Textile Organisation described wool as “the luxury guest at the Spring 2019 table”.

Merino wool is the stand-out ingredient, valued for its qualities and its natural origins. Cariaggi showed Ping Pong - a new combed yarn in 77% wool/23% silk, describing the Australian Merino wool as specially selected, a 16.5 micron to create a very light gimped yarn with crepe effects.

Sudwolle has developed a quality yarn in 85% 19.5 micron Merino/15% hemp with an intriguing handle, and a new 60% 17.5 micron Merino with 40% viscose. Botto Giuseppe has committed to sustainable wool and transparent procedures for some time with its Naturalis Fibra Sustainable Yarns system based firmly on wool.

Zegna Baruffa’s wool yarn with contemporary washable luxury H2DR, is finding success with luxury womenswear by emphasising the performance features of ultrafine Merino, making the link between high-class fashion and sports. Performance in this sense is linked not only to care, but to selection, colour and the quality of ingredients, yarns and the final product. Natural fibres are combined, for example, linen, silk and wool to create a sophisticated end from simple beginnings.

The now well-developed concepts of business responsibility and ethics have a new mindset and stress the desirability of natural origins, with sustainable manufacture leading the mood music into 2019. All this starts with fibre and yarn. Alongside was the current preoccupation with the position of women as an expression of changing society, illustrations re-grammed and re-tweeted from the research area, catching the social media mood.

Pitti Filati made it clear that it is not enough to merely talk about reducing pollutants, particularly after the worldwide impact of international influences, such as the BBC's Blue Planet exposé of the truly global and catastrophic dangers of plastic in all areas of the environment. Real developments have been taken on by important spinners; filati Be.Mi.Va presented APEO-free fine wool yarns emphasising that they are guaranteed to biodegrade in seawater in months.