PRATO SHOWS SOLIDARITY

Byline: Joshua Greene / Daniela Gilbert

NEW YORK — Fifty-one members of the Pratotrade consortium, last week held a Manhattan trade show for U.S. buyers who missed the group’s Prato Expo show. That event was held in Italy the week of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.
In a letter to New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Fabrizio Mattei, the mayor of Prato, Italy, said the exhibition was organized to show solidarity and friendship.
Vendors showed their fabrics on the fourth floor of the InterContinental Hotel on Oct. 16-18. The Italian Trade Commission helped coordinate the hotel space.
“I thought it might give me the chance to meet some customers that I would not have met otherwise,” said Massimo Menchi of Menchi Tessuti SpA. “We know the show is late. It’s not to do business, but to show the Americans solidarity.”
Francesco Rosati, a sales manager for MC Industria, added: “Most people are done with fall, but they may be looking for something that’s missing in the collection.”
Fabric trends from Prato varied from nubby, tweed-like textures to heavier moleskins and corduroys.
At Manteco, supervising manager Marco Mantellassi noted the importance of textured novelties and cavalry twills in wool, polyester and spandex blends.
Novelties at Emmeci included plaids in wool and nylon blends that were fringed; while at Binicocchi, nubby, piece-dyed Chanel tweed looks were key.
Fred Rottman, executive vice president at Picchi, agreed that textured, colorful looks were doing well. “Buyers here are responding to slubby, boucle textures,” he said.
Betsey Johnson’s head of design, Pamela Thompson, was looking for plaids in boucle textures, but said it was hard to find the bright colors that Johnson is known for. “I did see some plaids that featured Lurex that were great,” she added. At Aiale, meanwhile, more structured moleskins, corduroys and twills were interesting to many buyers. “They’re midweight, so while they’re heavier than fabrics have been, they can still be used for a variety of looks,” noted Gerri Tobias, director of sales and marketing.