By  on February 9, 2010

MILAN — Italian textile manufacturers presenting spring and summer fabric collections at next week’s Milano Unica trade fair hope signs of improving economic conditions in key European markets will translate into an upswing in their businesses.

The show’s spring and 10th anniversary edition will run Feb 16 to 18 at the fairgrounds here.

“Milano Unica’s later dates are an advantage to Italian exhibitors,” said the show’s president, Pier Luigi Loro Piana. “They have the time to prepare a full collection.”

Executives have been heartened by the more positive business climate compared with the depths of the downturn last year.

“Europe is performing — in particular Italy, France and Germany,” said Patrizia Beltrami, director of corporate communications for Alcantara, a manufacturer of synthetic suede.

“People are thinking positive, and the dollar’s strength is helping,” said Simone Canclini, chief executive officer of shirting fabric manufacturer Canclini.

Executives from leading Italian mills are counting on creativity and quality to be their selling point, rather than trying to stimulate business and increase order volumes by reducing prices.

“Instead of lowering prices, we intend to offer the market the best quality,” said Loro Piana, who is also co-ceo of Loro Piana. “We want to go up instead of down.”

The demand among clients is “for something new yet, with accessible prices,” said Michele Vigano, ceo of Seterie Argenti.

The Italian silk manufacturer has made capital investments in an effort to keep up the momentum when it comes to innovation. The mill recently invested in 50 ink-jet machines and will unveil a collection of printed fabric that features the image of 17th-century Italian musician Francesco Corbetta.

Executives noted they have sought to adapt and evolve their businesses as economic conditions have changed, exploring new partnerships and implementing programs that offer greater levels of customer service.

“We’re now collaborating with designers as partners rather than just suppliers,” said Beppe Pisani president of Serikos SpA, a high-end silk manufacturer.

Guglielmo Minni, ceo of Milan-based cotton specialist Larusmiani, acknowledged the need for a unique product, saying it was only effective when coupled with an efficient service.

“Clients are cautious and ordering late, so it’s vital more than ever that we offer a speedy service,” Minni said.

A wave of new spring 2011 trends are being counted on to energize a beleaguered industry. Highlights include rich embroidered fabric, water-inspired fabrics with reflective qualities and natural, rustic looking fibers.

“Embroidery is a real must for the season applied as broderie anglaise edging, and sparkling motifs made with Lurex,” Alcantara’s Beltrami said.

Shirting fabric manufacturer Canclini will showcase fabrics “which mix traditional motifs with contemporary technical expertise,” Canclini said.

“It’s all or nothing,” said Giovanni Orsini owner and creative director of Zibetti e Orsini, suppliers to luxury houses such as Chanel and Louis Vuitton. “The middle market no longer exists.”

The Varese-based company will unveil handcrafted embroidered materials that blend laser prints and geometric designs to three-dimensional effect.

Biella-based men’s wear manufacturer Lanificio Angelico will present a new take on suiting fabric.

“In the formal sector, we’ve produced linen and wool mixes that don’t crease,” said Francesca Dalleanni, international export manager of Lanificio Angelico.

Fabrics with reflective qualities and fluidity inspired by water look set to run for another season.

“We’ve worked a lot to create wet-look effects with a sheen,” said Argenti’s Vigano, whose mill will present an enlarged offer of 340 new fabric styles.

Fabric weavers Botto Giuseppe will unveil a material dubbed Liquid Wool that blends a soft handle with iridescent qualities. A color palette inspired by water will also preview at Serikos SpA.

In addition to more fashion forward offerings, mills will emphasize quality through a classic color palette and a new take on traditional materials.

“We will continue to push natural fibers for spring 2011. We’re confident this is the right track,” Loro Piana said.

“Canvas is back,” Minni said. “We’re offering yarn-dyed fabric which has a sporty feel and is a different proposal to what is on the market.”

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