Milan’s premier fabric show is a specialised affair with a vital role in the top end of the trade. Janet Prescott reports for IWTO.

Milano Unica 34 – Cherished Classics, Smooth Suitings and Inspired Colours

Milan’s premier fabric show is above all a showcase for the suitings and exclusive and fashionable fabrics woven in traditional mills from the UK to Italy. It also brings in Japan and Korea sections along with as other international exhibitors. The 34th edition of Milano Unica at Fieramilano Rho, which ended 2 February, saw wool and other animal fibres as a major part of the offering, following or often leading current concerns including recycled synthetics and blends. These fulfil the criteria for sustainability and responsibility while retaining a designer atmosphere for the high-level buyers who flock to this fair.

Alessandro Barberis Canonico, President of Milano Unico, took as the theme of his introduction the need to cherish and exploit traditional skills and knowledge. Idea Biella responded to the market with a radical look at classics which saw smooth suitings revitalized by design and colour while still using luxury material, mostly blends of wool with cashmere, silk, linen or mohair, but increasingly 100 percent wool in Merino and Escorial.

New colours with a sheen included shades of green, unusual for menswear, already noted as trends in Pitti Uomo, and instantly transforming worsted suit fabric into something altogether more striking, complemented by newer, bolder jacket designs.  Tweeds from Scotland and England and fancy summer woollen fabrics were highly decorated, in inspired colourways, accessorised in different ways attempting a less formal, often genderless appeal.

Dressy summer fabrics in the ModaI design area were highly designed and decorated, with colour and visuals making for a rich, original and young look from light toned natural floral tones and geometric prints to kaleidoscopic sweeps of colour fitting in with the current ‘all change’ feeling.

The Woolmark Company exhibited in reality and on e-milanounica, showing the latest Wool Lab themes, highlighting developments in innovative yarns fabrics and wool processes. The new informality was expressed in really bright shades of green, blue, apricot as well as cooler, quieter naturals in some of the sections of the design areas.

Woollens, from richly coloured brushed blanket-like constructions, to intricate designs taken from trad patterns and then recoloured, helped to liven the much-dedicated trend areas, even for a summer season, in fabrics using statement red and black, bright blue and unusual mixes.

Here too was a taste of eco-based Filo Flow, promoting the Biellese yarn show, itself showing later as Filo in Milan in the month, with its collections of organic and sustainable fibres and yarns emphasising intimate relationships between fibres and fabrics, especially strong in Italy.

The entire show pointed at a good role for wool in the hopes for a reasonable comeback for conscience-based fashion and design innovation in the Spring/Summer season of 2023.

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