MILAN — Europe’s economic uncertainty didn’t stop the creativity of the high-end Italian textile firms that presented innovative products at the 16th edition of Milano Unica, the three-day textile trade show that closed here on Friday.
In 2012, the Italian textile industry posted a 5.1 percent drop in revenues to 8 billion euros, or $10.4 billion at average exchange rates, compared with 2011. According to data provided by Italian fashion and textile consortium SMI Sistema Moda Italia, textile products dropped 3 percent in 2012, even with positive results in Japan, Russia, the U.S. and China.
Helping to give a positive feeling to exhibitors, Sir Paul Smith, a regular at the fair, which this season saw the number of visitors increase 5.5 percent compared with February 2012, kicked off the show with an insightful speech during the inaugural press conference on Wednesday.
Smith highlighted the importance for fashion designers, whom he views as too sheltered in their “ivory towers,” to attend trade shows in order to be inspired and meet people. To meet the challenges of the market, the British designer suggested entrepreneurs should “push their creativity” and “think laterally” to create brands focused on “individuality” and that have a clear “point of view” and a “balance” between more commercial and fashionable products.
Branding, innovation and internationalization were the key ingredients highlighted by Ermenegildo Zegna Group chief executive officer Gildo Zegna to succeed in the current market. The company, which closed 2012 reporting a 12 percent increase in revenues up to 1.25 billion euros, or $1.6 billion, forecast single-digit growth in 2013.
“The year will be difficult, especially in the first part, also due to the strong euro,” Zegna said.
Zegna pointed to the role of silk as one of the reasons for the brand’s success in international markets. He said, “Starting to combine silk with our traditional fibers has been a very smart strategy that enabled us to enrich summer collections with products featuring the same luxury standards of the winter season.”
At Milano Unica, the Biella-based company presented a new fabric mixing mohair with silk. This is also available with Cool Effects technology that reduces the absorption of sunlight, allowing men to wear dark-colored suits during the summer.
Many of the exhibitors at the trade show confirmed that silk is on the upswing. The increased demand for the natural fiber is probably the reason for the instability of its price, which has significantly risen in the last few months.
“Due to silk’s high cost, we had to raise our prices by 5 to 10 percent,” said Bocchese 1908 ceo Michele Bocchese.
In keeping with the company’s DNA, the Italian firm launched “Denim Loves Silk,” an innovative denimlike silk fabric. “The world of denim is extremely important and we like the idea of combining it with something classic and traditional like silk,” Bocchese said. “This…reflects our current strategy focused on reinterpreting silk fabrics, our core products, in an unconventional and creative way.”
Denim also inspired Loro Piana’s “Lin de Nîmes,” a linen fabric with a denim effect designed for men’s and women’s casual pants and outerwear. In addition, the company introduced men’s lightweight, crease-resistant wool fabric “Accademia,” along with “Aqua Wool,” a machine-washable knit wool fabric available in piqué or jersey.
“Our strategy is definitely not driven by fear, instead we are pushing on research creating new innovative products,” said ceo Pier Luigi Loro Piana, who forecast that the company, which saw its textile unit close 2012 with a 5 percent increase, will keep growing in 2013. “I’m confident that both the U.S. and China will perform pretty well this year, despite the rising value of the euro.”
Botto Fila ceo Alberto Bertoni also listed the strong euro and its impact on export pricing, in addition to difficulties in obtaining bank credit, as among the problems that could affect the market in the coming months.
At the fair, Botto Fila, which generates 70 percent of its revenues outside Italy, presented a collection focused on comfortable fabrics, mixing superfine wool with stretch materials. Patterns ranged from micro-houndstooth, soft tartans and thin pinstripes to crease-resistant wool fabric.
Technology took center stage at Marzotto as well, which launched “Scudo,” a line that features waterproof and breathable fabrics made of cotton, a cotton-and-silk blend, stretch poplin and wool paired with an exclusive high-tech Japanese membrane.
Marzotto-owned velvet-maker Redaelli Velluti launched lightweight linen corduroy, available in a natural color palette. Silk-maker and print specialist Ratti used new techniques to obtain sophisticated and unusual patterns, showing exploded-like dots and Breton stripes.
Shirt-fabric-maker Testa also played with patterns, including more elegant stripes and chic casual checks printed on cotton and cotton-and-linen-blend fabrics. The company also embraced one of the season’s biggest trends — denim — in the form of two-tone high-end cloths for jeans.
From overseeing America’s fastest-growing speciality retailers to codifying cool, WWD talked to the women who are leading the way for the future of beauty. Check out our Instagram Stories to see how these women built today and are creating tomorrow. (📸: @hannah_khymych) #wwdbeauty
For @laperlalingerie's spring 2018 show, the brand chose to host their event at @thevenetianmacao. With Chinese megastars @bingbing_fan and @hubing in attendance, La Perla debuted a rock ‘n’ roll-inspired collection. The show marked the start of Sands Macao Fashion Week, which runs from October 19 to 24 — the city’s first such event. Pictured here are models backstage with glimmering eyes. #wwdfashion (📷: Cheuk-Yin To)
Trending for spring 2018: top stitch design. Gone are the days of stitch just for seams — designers are using the once-minimal detail to create strong decorative elements. (📷: Paola Testa; Styled by @andrew_shang) #wwdfashion
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)