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FLORENCE — Bright, shimmering colors for spring and summer 2005 are expected to be a key component of the yarn collections to be unveiled at next week’s Pitti Immagine Filati trade show.

This story first appeared in the January 27, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Spinners plan to show off some newly developed finishing and dyeing techniques that can produce yarns with polished, almost transparent finishes, as well as yarns with iridescent metallic surfaces.

While exhibitors said they’ll have an assortment of minimalist gray, black, white and neutral yarns, they’re also planning to showcase the intense colors of the Italian Riviera: buttercup yellow and summer rose, sky blue and sea green, deep oranges and reds.

Exhibitors plan to offer yarns made from a variety of fibers, including cotton, linen, silk and rayon, separately and in blends. Cotton is expected to play a key role, given many exhibitors’ focus on the knitwear market, even in the spring season.

More than 150 top Italian and European spinners are expected at the event, which will kick off its three-day run Feb. 4 at Florence’s Fortezza da Basso. Exhibitors said they hope that creative ideas will help drive sales at a time when they face economic challenges, such as competition from Third World countries, a weak dollar and a still-soft global economic climate.

“To stay competitive, companies must concentrate on continuous innovation in terms of both product and production process, and this is where we are focusing our efforts,” said Leandro Gualtieri, president of Gruppo Filpucci. This season, Gruppo Filpucci will once again offer Cotmir yarns, a blend of Mako cotton and extra-fine merino wool, which the company said is well suited for high-end knitwear.

At Loro Piana, foreign sales chief Luciano Bandi said his focus on winning market share is investing in long-term projects with existing clients: “That means being different, having a strong brand image capable of supplying customers with sufficient guarantees of quality and continuity.”

Luigi Botto’s line will reflect both sophisticated and rustic looks with yarns in cotton, rayon and blends of the two fibers, for soft, fluid lines that produce fabrics that can be sold year-round in the American market, said general manager Roberto Baratella.

Technicians at Cariaggi have developed a new dyeing process that the company said provides its yarn designers much more flexibility and has allowed them to develop a much wider spectrum of colors and tones. They said the technology can help to produce yarns that, even in pale shades, appear intense and rich, but also reveal the yarn’s texture.

Color is also expected to be an important part of the collection at Pecci Yarn, where the focus for spring-summer 2005 will be on lightweight, natural-fiber yarns. The Pecci color palette will reflect the earthy ethnic tones of North Africa, ranging from the deep, rich colors of Morocco to the light, luminous natural colors of the desert. The company also plans to show an Urban Botanic line of mercerized cotton and cotton blends, which are reminiscent of the sport-chic attitude of the Fifties.

At Zegna Baruffa, the focus will be on natural fiber yarns in a multiplicity of fashion finishes and a variety of colors inspired by nature.

Many spinners have placed their focus on developing innovative, specialty yarns, which they hope can help to regain some of the sales ground they lost in their primary markets over the past few seasons.

With this idea in mind, the Mister Joe company has developed a selection of yarns that its executives contend combine the quality handwork of Italian artisans with the freshness of modern design. Giuseppe Natali, owner of Mister Joe, said he believes these special finishing techniques will help enhance the luster of the Made in Italy label his products carry and help to fend off competition.