FLORENCE — Yarn manufacturers exhibiting at the Pitti Filati textile show said they feared an increasingly difficult six months ahead as they struggle in a shaky economic climate.
Spinners presented fall and winter yarn collections at the show that ended a three-day run July 4 at the Fortezza da Basso here. Although many executives reported stabilized sales for the first half of 2008, figures from the Italian textile and fashion consortium SMI-ATI indicate the Italian yarn industry has hit a rough patch.
After closing 2007 with a 4.5 percent drop in sales to 3.27 billion euros, or $4.48 billion at average exchange, results from the first four months of 2008 indicated the industry’s backsliding has continued. From January to April, production quantities for wool and cotton yarns were down 7.6 percent and 16.8 percent, respectively. Exports are also in a down slope, falling 5.7 percent in 2007, with signs of a drop-off early this year in key markets including the U.K., Spain and Hong Kong.
Many manufacturers admitted they would struggle to finish the year with profit margins, especially in light of forecasts that the U.S. dollar will plummet further against the euro. “We are in the hands of the exchange rate,” said Silvio Botto Poala, director of Botto Poala. “The market has lost a little faith, but our American clients are still interested in buying quality and they still need to come here to source prestigious yarns.”
Marchi & Fildi, together with Turkish textile firm Abalioglu Textile Industries, opened a mill in Turkey to offset the strong euro. The mill, named Filidea, will present its first collection of technical and worsted yarns in October in Italy.
“The exchange rate has devastated acquisitions, so we are really relying on our research and new products,” said Caterina Dissegna, director of Marchi & Fildi. “Turkey has a similar textile culture to Italy. There is definite synergy and know-how there.”
Other firms that outsource in China have found local competition tough. Last year, wool specialist Lana Gatto Tollegno opened a dyeing plant in Quandong, China. The factory’s dyeing capacity is 30,000 kilos, or about 66,000 pounds, of yarn a day.
“It lowers the price, but there is a lot of competition there now,” said Ermanno Germanetti, president of Lana Gatto Tollegno.
Lineapiu recently revamped the look of Topline, its two-year-old yarn collection produced in China.
“Producing in China has its advantages, but the collection has to have something extra that sets it apart from the basic offer,” said Lola Coppini, chief executive officer of Lineapiu. Meanwhile, mills at the fair enlarged their “green” yarn offerings, some applying eco-friendly conditions to production processes.
Cariaggi, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, introduced a new cashmere yarn called Goad, dyed with an intense azure blue pigment. The dye is derived from a local plant sourced in Urbino, near Cariaggi’s factory in central Italy. Cariaggi also added another 15 shades of its vegetable pigment dye colors for classic cashmere yarns and combed worsted yarns.
“The new shades are really deep and the results are quite even, unlike mottled vegetable dyes of the past,” said Cristiana Cariaggi, ceo of Cariaggi, adding that it took the firm two years to perfect the dyes.
Ramping up its commitment as a green spinner, Iafil will invest 5 million euros, or $7.9 million, over five years to make its production processes eco-friendly. The company recently installed filters to recover and recycle caustic soda, a damaging chemical used during cotton’s mercerization process.
“We are serious about this,” said Elena Salvaneschi, marketing director for the firm. “We want being ecologically aware to become a way of life.”
Lanificio dell’Olivo showcased two new yarns under its Ecoalpa brand. The yarns are blended from pesticide-free wool and alpaca fibers that come in a range of colors that are the natural hues of the alpaca’s fleece, including cream, gray, brown and black.
“We’ve managed to produce it in the most natural way possible to reveal its natural beauty,” said Pietro Taddeucci Sassolini, president of Lanificio dell’Olivio.
Colorful, chunky and extra fine yarns were the key looks for fall and winter.
“It’s a continuing trend, but yarns have to be ultrasoft and extremely light even if they are thick,” Coppini said.
Her firm, Lineapiu, spearheaded the trade show’s trends with its new yarns that included a fuzzy wool and nylon blend in degraded shades of blue and plum, and a wool and polyamide blend spun so that the center of the yarn is empty, giving a fluffy, cotton wool-like hand. Other spinners sought to boost the luxury quotient on blends. Iafil combined alpaca with silk for an ultrafine yarn shown in a diagonal rib knit, while Cariaggi mixed vicuna with silk to create a glossier-looking natural camel hue yarn. Botto Poala and Lana Gatto Tollegno produced silky feel, glossy, featherweight wools spun from 13-micron extra fine wool.
Buyers showed interest in thicker yarns for cables and fine-gauge yarns for pointelle and rib knits.
“For the U.S., the prices are awful,” said Jennifer Dunn, designer for women’s sweaters at Juicy Couture. “We use some Italian yarns in our line to keep the quality constant.
There’s a lot of good trends this year. The organic element really interests us and the colors are really vibrant without being too loud. I love the heathers, the plums and the fuchsias, which match the really feminine yarns we are seeing this season.”
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)