In 1965 Pier Paolo Pasolini shot a documentary in Italy entitled Comizi d'amore (Love Meetings). Travelling all over the country, he interviewed ordinary people about love, sex, marriage, divorce, prostitution and homosexuality, revealing that prejudices and ignorance ruled society.
Love was actually the main theme picked as the knitwear inspiration for the Autumn/Winter 2014-15 season at last week's Pitti Filati and, unfortunately, it wasn't dissected with the same irony and provocation that Pasolini injected in his documentary.
The research space looked indeed like a classic tunnel of love ride in an amusement park with hearts carved outside the main wall of the trend area serving as a sort of gallery to showcase the various swatches.
The theme was broadly tackled: "love", in the interpretation offered by the organisers referred to any kind of affection and passion, it went from sensual and sexual to brotherly love, but also hinted at a fashion designer's love for materials, a vital point in this industry and at a "made in love" label, a sign of quality and authenticity.
The palette featured a series of warm colours, and lots of reds - from pure, solid ruby to burgundy - mixed with softer nuances such as nude and pink, with the addition of earthy shades.
The dummies usually employed to display the designs in this areas were presented as couples to highlight the main theme of the research area.
Angelo Figus and Nicola Miller came up as usual with interesting ideas, massive research and good stitches, but there were moments in which you wished they had been more controversial in the presentation.
There was indeed the strange feeling that, while tackling this theme from a universal point of view, they ended up trivialising it and creating less striking designs than the ones presented in the previous editions of the Pitti Filati event.
The possibilities of a broken love weren't explored for example and that's a bit of a shame, while the politically correct yarn sheet handed out to visitors also described the lesbian and gay dummies as "Friendship" women and "Narciso" men.
In a way it was as if the curators had been scared of offending the most conservative thinkers and researchers, which was a bit surprising since, fashion is supposed to be controversial and provocative (by the way, where was transgender love?).
It was also disappointing to see that the theme chosen for this trend didn't seem to inspire a wide range of love-related symbols, apart from basic hearts in the opening and closing looks.
Graphic hints at sex were also missing, and this is quite surprising, considering that there have been recent graduate collections in which students referenced sex in explicit ways proving of being more controversial than fashion advisors dictating the next trend.
The opening designs - "Friendship Woman 1 and 2" (images 1 - 3 in this post) - were almost entirely made using natural and luxury yarns and the cardigan (made with Pecci Filati's "Camel", G.T.I.-Ricignolo's "Folly" and Ilaria's "Aurora" - blends of baby camel, extrafine merino wool, cashmere, silk and superkid mohair) and top (yarn: "Agata" by Accademia I Grandi Filati Italiani) on the first dummy were actually handknitted.
The designs were matched with a skirt made with a collage of fabrics; the skirt on the second dummy was instead handknitted using a chunky yarn by Chiavazza (Freesia - 93% extrafine wool, 7% cashmere).
The extremely soft cardigan on the second dummy was a blend of Loro Piana's "Cashmere 2/28" and Igea's "Astro", while the top was made with Biagioli Modesto's "Lambswool Extrafine" and Zegna Baruffa's "Cashwool".
An earthy palette of browns characterised the designs showcased on the next couple of dummies embodying love towards animals and pets (images 4 - 6 in this post).
The most interesting looks here were the skirt that featured Lineapiù's "Mongolia" (81% superkid mohair, 9% wool, 10% polyamidic fibres), Pecci Filati's "Premium" (25% yak, 25% silk, 50% extrafine merino wool), Filati Be.Mi.Va.'s "Charlotte" (70% nylon, 30% viscose) and synthetic hair, and the man's top with Filatura di Tollegno's "Lapponia" (merino wool and polyacrilic) mixed with metallic elements and embroidery by trimming company Forza Giovane.
The men's trousers were entirely made with Loro Piana's yarns ("Wudi", "Royal", "Exodus") with printed effects by Stamperia Marra.
Both the man's and woman's jackets were the best pieces in the "Nature" couple (image 7 in this post). They both came in deep forest greens, but the former was made with Di.Vé's "Connemara", "Zebraccio", "Monserrat" and "Himalaya" (wool and acrylic fibres); the latter was instead 100% fine merino wool ("Kent" by Botto Poala).
The women's jacket was particularly interesting since it recreated three-dimensional effects that hinted at plants and vegetation.
The two "Narciso" men (images 8 - 11 in this post) that followed were a mix of David Bowie's glam and of the cossack costumes in vivid colours decorated with silver musket charges in the breast pockets for the Ballets Russes's "Thamar".
The red and violet jacket on one of the dummies, a tribute to glam and camp looks, was a mix of Lineapiù's "Rock" (70% viscose, 30% polyamide), "Geisha" (11% polyester, 56% viscose, 33% polyamide) and "Paloma" (25% polyamide, 75% viscose), and Kyototex's "Sylvia" (17% metallic, 32% polyester, 51% rayon).
The geometrical folds on the black and white top (made with Loro Piana's "Super170S" and "Classic") underneath the golden yarn gilet made with musket-like elements were the most interesting parts of the second look.
There were punkish and arty references in the next looks (images 12 - 14 in this post): a pregnant dummy representing the "Mother Woman" look wore a punkish top made with Pecci Filati's "Batik" (47% fine merino wool, 30% viscose, 15% nylon, 8% cashmere) characterised by loose stitches, and a jacket in mohair, wool, silk and viscose with holes and motifs in shiny cellulose acetate, metallized polyester and nylon (Ilaria's "Astro").
The latter seemed references to Burri's process of burning thin strata of polyvinylchlorid and polyethylene moulding this artificial material and creating bubbles, folds and pleats on his canvases.
The womenswear design was juxtaposed to a more complex look for men, a jacket in rusty tones made with a selection of different yearns, Lanecardate's "Fur" (merino extrafine wool), Lineapiù's "Giselle" (viscose and polyamidic fibres), Todd & Duncan's "Odyssey" (cashmere and cotton), Filati Be.Mi.Va.'s "Frida" (viscose and nylon), Kyototex's "Abigail" (nylon and rayon), Sato Seni's "Rosario" (wool), "Fuuga" (baby kid mohair, nylon) and "Robson" (wool, acrylic).
The translucent effects on the trousers were instead created using Be.Mi.Va.'s "Celluloide" (100% nylon) blended with more luxurious yarns.
The delicate Vs thick/ethereal Vs padded dichotomy chracterised the next designs (images 15 - 17 in this post): the fluffy mohair and cashmere cardigan for the womeswear look was matched indeed with a thin top made with Cariaggi's cashmere yarn named "Soffio" (literally "puff" - the name says it all) and with a thick handknitted skirt (Di.vè's "Bucatino Open", G.T.I.-Ricignolo's "Loira", Filpucci's "Evoque").
The sausage-like padded elements on the man's coat were created using Loro Piana's cashmere.
The padded theme continued in the woman's handknitted gilet (made with Igea's Aquila Stampato - 100% extrafine merino wool) from the "Misericordia Man and Woman" looks (images 18 - 19 in this post).
Both the designs looked slightly hippish and despite the jacket for the man's look was mainly made in cashmere and cotton with some yarns in 100% schappe silk included (Loro Piana's "Exodus"), the result was a bit too reminiscent of Missoni's "put together".
Elegance was tackled via a romantic couple (images 20 - 22 in this post) with a man's jacket characterised by a formal silhouette, but in pastel colours and in a sophisticated blend of polished finishes (Pecci Filati's "Sensuale", Manifattura Igea's "Strass" and Be.Mi.Va.'s "Lusso").
The woman's design accompanying this look was actually more interesting since it featured striking surface motifs created with synthetic yarns.
The quilted motifs of the trousers and skirt of the next looks (images 23 - 25 in this post) referred to the intimacy of the bedroom, emphasised in the woman's look by a white and pale pink cashmere, cotton and silk (by Loro Piana) top with swirling motifs matched with a handknitted gilet in fine merino wool and natural marabou feathers, and in the man's look by a white top with tufted effects created using Millefili's "Nuvola" (40% wool, 28% cashmere, 7% angora, 15% polyamide and 10% cashmere) and "Peter Pan" (25% viscose, 25% cotton, 25% polyamide, 20% wool and 5% cashmere).
Though the matching man's coat was quite soft it, was made with Loro Piana's "Stretchsilk" yarn that contains silk and steel (65%, 35%), the latter is often used to give a reflective surface and create a crinkled fabric with a tight twist.
Adam & Eve were reinvented in a casual key (images 26 - 28 in this post) with a woman's top in a fine merino wool, cashmere and silk with a shiny red apple, a motif that also reappeared in the accompanying handknitted thick cardigan, hinted at the original sin, while Adam's leaf was instead embroidered on a top made with Filpucci's "Scilla" and Di.Vè's "Soffice".
Op Art (images 29 - 31 in this post) was introduced with geometrical black and white yarns that created a bold graphic story of modernist love in a sharp, neat and polished man's top made with Igea's "Fenice" (100% superfine wool) and a woman's top knitted with Safil's "Valentino" (extrafine wool and nylon) with printed effects by Stamperia Marra that actually hinted at architectural elements.
The architectural motifs appeared in the sleeves of a perfectly wearable man's cardigan from the "Sensual" theme (images 32 - 33 in this post), and they were mainly obtained through a selection of extrafine wool and synthetic yarns. It was actually a shame that the matching woman's look didn't follow the same inspiration.
Art came back at the very end (images 34 - 37 in this post) in the Roy Lichtenstein inspired skirt and trousers with prints by Stamperia Marra and in the bright colours picked for the man's merino wool, linen, cotton, mohair and nylon cardigan and in the woman's jumper with a big yellow heart (Ilaria's "Saffo" - 75% cellulose acetate, 18% nylon and 7% metallized polyester).
There are a lot of ideas and stitches to digest and re-elaborate here, whether you're a fashion designer or a knitwear aficionado, but if you're willing to opt for the "make love not war" trend, remember to be a bit more controversial and provocative.
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