Milano Unica, the Italian textile show held in Milan’s Portello area between Feb. 16 and 18, reported stable attendance figures compared to its edition from a year ago. The 10th edition of the fair, promoted and organized by the most prestigious representatives of “Made in Italy” (Ideacomo, Ideabiella, Moda In, Shirt Avenue), ended on an optimistic note for both Italian and European exhibitors. During the three show days, 12,500 firms were present. Subsequently, all worries concerning attendance, due to the European textile show calendars and disappointing firm budgets after a tumultuous 2009, dissipated.

The 10th edition, hosting 441 exhibitors, of which 83 were foreigners, 10 fewer than in the previous edition, presented fabric collections for S/S 11 and relied once again on a collaboration with the Italian Trade Commission (ICE), which organized the participation of various delegations of buyers and journalists from Japan, Germany, Great Britain and the United States.

“Judging from the attendance and the orders placed,” said Pier Luigi Loro Piana, President of Milano Unica and Ideabiella, the most prestigious international shows dedicated to fine classic/traditional top-end menswear fabrics, “we have noted important signs for quality Italian and European textiles after a dramatic 2009. Important was the return of buyers, in particular from northern Europe.”

While trend expert Li Edelkoort offered two seminars – one focused on the comeback of mohair as a versatile and highly flexible material, and another on S/S 11 trends – the show elsewhere exhibited greater liveliness inside the areas dedicated to accessories than to fabrics, even though research was highlighted in both market areas.

Olimpias presented a jersey that looked like a denim fabric and focused on several eco-minded fabrics such as a 100% nettle ramiè jersey. Redaelli, a velvet manufacturer, presented an irregular optic velvet achieved from handmade surface finishing.

Canclini, the shirting manufacturer, presented a series of more casual and sport-inspired fabrics. A significant part of the collection was the standing color blends for checks as well as rag-like stripes and motifs. The company also presented rustic effects on cotton fabrics with a red selvage edging mostly appreciated by jeans connoisseurs.

Swarovski was mostly inspired by water effects and offered a new material that looks like granite; it also announced a new partnership with YKK for the launch of a new family of jewel-like zippers. Its first model is a flat slider model sporting an asymmetric crystal.

Okinawa, the label manufacturer, focused on two new main trends: pop art designs and embellishments and vintage-inspired effects for more traditional jeanswear brands.

Mectex, the Italian technical fabric manufacturer, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The company is said to have invented the first elastic fibers in the ’50s even before that Lycra was introduced. It launched hollow fibers in the mid ’90s and today offers a fabric guaranteeing protection from infrared rays.

The 11th edition of Milano Unica will continue to take place at the Portello - Fieramilanocity on Sept. 8 -10, 2010 and preview the F/W 11-12 collections.

—Maria Cristina Pavarini