The question for Winter 2016/17: Will the return of the overcoat, trenchcoat and greatcoat prove a driver of wool sales?
The answer was yes, at the Filo International yarn show (18-19 March 2015) in Milan.
All sorts of wool featured in yarns for 2016/17, from chunky heavier yarns for furnishing through tweed effects and heavier overcoatings to fine, trans-seasonal yarns for knits which could be sold around the globe in different weather systems and seasonal conditions.
Several mills mentioned developing more yarns for weaving and there were thicker yarns on show. Directional style features favoured the innate characteristics of wool with knops, loops and texture. The reinvention of the overcoat inspires many designers, as seen in Pitti Uomo, and fabric collections. Spinners respond with thick, flecked yarns for tweeds, thicker grey and black wool for country checks, exaggerated slubs and pebbling.
Many ingenious blends were on show, but there was also a great deal of pure wool yarns for chunky and cosy looks. Blends with wool included metallic yarns for bright, coloured and transparent shine at Lurex. Unusual wool blends included Cupro : Cuprolan, and Micromodal: Mola 80 by Pozzi Electa. Wool with 20% cotton, and a little polyamide.
Warm animal fibres are teased and combed to make the most of the thermal properties of fur and fleece. Irregularities appear throughout for individualistic fabrics. Fibrillations, highly crimped yarn, and use of wool twists and mohair make extra frizz.
Colour variations are exploited in traditional qualities; lambswool, Shetlands and patterns like mottled Donegals and tartans. Wool wovens and outdoor woollens are blended with silk to relieve stark cold-weather, with knots and knops, bouclés and matted looks as well as shine like Lurex and metals.
Changes in the thickness of individual yarns, brought about by bouclés and coloured neps make for rich surface texture and colour changes, from melanges and through dyeing.
Smooth, cosy jerseys are key fabrics for winter, including yarns in cotton or wool blends, seen throughout the show as important for both winter and trans-seasonals, with many different weights and colours for maximum potential.
Colours for winter 16/17 are deep, not garish: pink, brown, black in rich tones, often marled with white. Leaf green, bark and other natural colours. Purple, light ginger, camel, in combination or with highlights.
British looks are in. Yarns destined for woollen plaids come in more subdued colours; sage green and dark purple on navy grounds. Bright blue, carrot orange and winter pink are used as accent colours.
Fine wool twisted and doubled for a sophisticated look. Botto Poala luxury wool yarns a little chunkier for winter weaving e.g. Geelong wool and 10% cashmere for luxury. Reactive, their new 120s quality washable wool, now offered for weaving to include trousers.
Several areas contribute to demand for wool: the rise of accessories; continuing increases in hand knitting; furnishing yarns in classic and fancy qualities; the reappearance of heavier yarns for overcoats.
All set to fuel new-style wool looks, including multiblends like wool/mohair/silk, or alpaca/wool/polyamide.
– Janet Prescott