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Beyond the Bale : September 2015
OFF FARM 15 At 84 years old, Nino Cerruti is proof that there is no true retirement age for a fashion designer. He first stepped foot into his father's business when he was just 10 years old, when his father thought the young Nino should put his long school holidays to good use. "So I started learning about how to make wool fabric," Signor Cerruti explains. "I have had a long intimacy with wool." Today, he is still an active member of the iconic mill, working with the team to create the perfect cloth and perfect what Lanifico Fratelli Cerruti stands for. Yet Signor Cerruti is not only imparting his wealth of knowledge with his colleagues, but also with emerging fashion designers such as UK menswear designer Lou Dalton. For the past three seasons Dalton has forged a relationship with Signor Cerruti, a relationship that has come into fruition thanks to the efforts of AWI's global network. Working closely with leading mill Lanificio Fratelli Cerruti, Dalton has shown Merino wool looks on the runways of London for both her spring/summer and autumn/winter collections and has sourced beautiful Merino wool fabrics from Cerruti including Cool Wool wovenwear cloth. "During my apprenticeship I came in contact with some of the finest wools in the world and from there on I was hooked," says Dalton, who admits she would be lost without wool in the collections she produces, both summer and winter. "I'm obsessed with wool." It was Dalton's Spring/Summer 2015 collection that first saw her collaborate with Cerruti, something she admitted to wanting to do for a while. "I'm very excited about working with Lanifico Fratelli Cerruti this season, it's something that I have wanted to happen for the last two seasons and it has finally come into fruition," said Dalton. "It's incredible to work with a company that is highly regarded in the industry for fabric innovation." And what does Signor Cerruti think of passing on his talents to the next generation? "There is always a combination of inventiveness with young people, that is much more free from prejudices and conditions than it is with a person that has long experience," he says. "In creativeness you don't have an age: you have creativeness or you don't have it. "I think the collaboration between worlds that have a lot of history and a lot of tradition ... and the freedom of thinking of young people is an ideal match." MORE INFORMATION www.merino.com Nino Cerruti welcomes UK menswear designer Lou Dalton to his mill at Biella in Italy that produces some of the world's finest wool fabrics. When Nino Cerruti's grandfather Antonio founded his first weaving workshop in 1881 in Biella, nobody could have imagined it would evolve into one of the world's finest producers of luxury wool cloth. In 1950 Signor Nino Cerruti became the head of Lanificio Fratelli Cerruti, a position in which he still remains. AW I collaborates with the company to help build the demand for wool by showcasing how the natural born elegance of both Nino Cerruti and Merino wool are as relevant today as they have been for the past 65 years. WOOL ON TREND AT PITTI UOMO TRADE SHOW In addition to the launch of the 'Il Signor Nino' exhibition, AWI also attended the Pitti Uomo trade show to unveil the latest edition of The Wool Lab -- AWI's guide to the best wool fabrics and yarns in the world -- and showcase Merino wool to the textile and fashion trade. "Pitti Uomo is always the best occasion to not only meet with the most important brands, but also connect with fashion and trade journalists," explains AWI Country Manager, Italy, Francesco Magri. "Trade shows are the ultimate in connecting with designers, brands, retailers, journalists and design schools. The most important people always attend and we not only showcase our latest developments but also gauge interest for future possibilities." Highlighting the demand for unisex fashion, a key section at Pitti Uomo was called 'No Sex', presenting androgynous apparel as a key trend for the next Autumn/Winter season. Similarly, the most popular theme presented in the Autumn/Winter 2016/17 edition of The Wool Lab was titled Androgyne, which leverages from traditional made-to-measure suits tailored for the contemporary and classy woman. "Presenting the theme Androgyne at a time when a major theme at Pitti Uomo is 'No Sex' further demonstrates how in-tune The Wool Lab is with current trends and just how relevant the sourcing guide is to the industry," Mr Magri added. And what says Signor Cerruti of the biggest trend, 'No Sex', at Pitti Uomo? "The fabrics can look similar, but the constructions must be different," he said. "Man and woman are made different; they can play looking the same but they need different fabrics and shapes. It's physical!" NEXT GENERATION EMBRACES CERRUTI With AWI support, UK menswear designer Lou Dalton works closely with leading Italian mill Lanifico Fratelli Cerruti to include Merino wool wovenwear in her collections.