Italy Trip - Day 2,3,4

I’ve just finished up a successful, although quite intense few days at the Lineapelle fair in Bologna. Designers come from all over the world to attend this fair - from big name fashion houses, to upstarts like me!

Annie Abbott blog

The point of my visit is to discover the range of materials being presented by the tanneries/textile mills for the coming season* and then apply a small selection of them to my design sketches to form the Autumn Winter 2012 collection.

With so many exhibitors making so many different types of leather (to be used for different types of shoes), in a million different colours, it’s really quite a puzzle to sort through the huge amount of delights on offer. The challenge is to settle on a bunch of materials that give the collection the right ‘look’, whilst also being technically suitable.

I do arrive with some preconceived ideas of the direction I want the new collection to take to ensure it always has its own ‘habbot’ feel - rather than one that is dictated by ‘industry’ trend forecasts. But the lovely (yet slightly frustrating) thing about the ‘Italian way’ is that the tanneries take great pride in their own colour palette forecasts and won’t just make up anything you ask for … so it’s a case of hunting around each of the exhibition halls (all 40,665 square metres of them) to find exactly what I’m after.

But really, creating this ‘unique feel’ is the most exciting part of designing a range from scratch (and kind of the whole point actually) – and therefore makes it worth every nurofen!

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Annie Abbott blog
I gave myself 3 days (compared to only 2 last time) in order to stroll (rather than jog) around the 9 exhibition halls in a more relaxed manner. The idea behind this was to allow the creative side of my brain time to arrive at material choices that the other more ‘commercially’ oriented side would also agree with, without losing too many marbles along the way. (The notion of giving myself time to stop each night for dinner whilst in the birthplace of ‘bolognaise’ was a significant motivator here too!)

In a nutshell, the first day was invigorating, the second confusing**, but by the end of day three I’m happy to say that I have a good idea of what materials I’ll use for the next Autumn/Winter 2012 collection.

You can expect some hand dip-dyed leathers for the ‘brogue shoot/boot story’, bright suedes for the ‘corset’ group, and contrast textile/suede combinations for the ‘toggle’ capsule! (Sounds good I hope – stay tuned for some images as the shoes come to life over the next 6-8 weeks – yes it really takes that long!)

More news from me soon as I head down south to spend all of next week working with Luigi & Peppe (my shoe makers).


*If anyone’s interested, the strong trends for leathers were; all forms of reptile embossed leather (python, croc, snake), soft and big textured leathers (i.e. elephant look), printed or laser cut ‘pony’ hair, bright suedes and still a lot of vintage/washed looking leather. For textiles/fabrics the key areas were; shiny/glittery finishes, quilted synthetics, laser print florals, and woven geometic patterns & tartans.

**As is often the case with my creative process – I start off calm – get a bit frazzled – eventually the jumbled ideas start to separate – the creamy ones rise to the top – the anxious feeling subsides and calmness prevails!

Here’s a sneaky shot of the cutest shoe pick of the fair for me! (Surprise, Surprise - it’s an oxford lace-up!)

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