As a designer people often ask how I get inspiration for the work that I do, I always tell them that to be creative one has to remember to feed the mind and constantly be open to new ideas. When I get to the end of a full year of designing the Spring Summer and Autumn winter collections there is a tendency to feel a bit flat, wrung out and clean out of inspiration. It is at this time of the year that we head to the Pitti Filati yarn show in Florence where the new season really begins and the whole design process starts again.
I challenge even the most jaded of travellers not to feel uplifted and inspired by the richness of the fusion of all things contemporary with the sense of history that Florence has to offer. Every year I return from the Pitti Filati trip newly invigorated and driven to do things better, to look at things differently and to strive for a level of quality and presentation that the Italians are masters at.
The attention to detail, the passion for colour and texture runs through every part of Italian daily life. From the retail display in the city stores to the presentation of the food on your plate, there is a consistency and a respect for the aesthetic throughout and an understanding that desire starts with the creation of something that is pleasing to the eye.
Above Florence streets showing retail display fabulousness and pasta as art.
It would be hard I suspect to grow up in Italy without having an appreciation of colour and form, being surrounded from childhood with the monumental architecture, faded patinas of historic buildings and the grandiose sculptures that line the streets. They do seem to have somewhat of an early advantage over the rest of us when it comes to developing a good sense of style and design!
Above beautiful frescoes in Piazza Della Signora and the grandiose archways of Florence.
There is a sense of a meeting of the old and new in Florence that makes it such an exciting city to visit, bustling and colourful it really is an Italian jewel of a city that lifts the soul and ignites all the senses at once. Each turn provides a visual feast for the eyes. The smell of the local cuisine, the sound of the vespas speeding through the narrow cobbled streets and the searing July heat all combine to make it an experience that remains with you long after you leave.
Above, view of the Duomo from the cobbled back streets dwarfing the town and inspiring colour palettes at Pitti Filati.
It is amazing to see how the surroundings absolutely inform the design aesthetic. Below on the top row the first image is our hotel. The second image is the interior of a funky Florentine fashion store. On the second row the first image is again our hotel and the second image is a beautiful interiors and ceramic store. The interpretation of something familiar and old into something edgy and on trend seems seamless and so easy to the Italians. There is a lot to be learnt from their ability to embrace their past and reinvent it to become something relevant to today.
Above Hotel Monna Lisa Florence old school Italian elegance.
What sets Italians apart it seems, is a passion for design and a real respect for visual aesthetics . An innate sense of the importance of surrounding oneself with beauty on a daily basis combined with an inherited talent for and understanding of the importance of craftsmanship. This combination of passion and talent is the powerful driving force that has given mythological status to Italian design that is recognised globally.
Above The Gucci store in Florence, completely confident in it’s over the top design and beautiful yarn displays at Pitti Filati.
Here at Irelands Eye Knitwear after our amazing trip to Pitti Filati Florence we are ready to start the new season feeling fully recharged and full of new creative ideas. We are looking forward to starting the Autumn/Winter 2017 collection and showing you all the results in January at Showcase Ireland. Ciao Florence, for now, we will see you next year when we need another burst of inspiration!
Above Pitti Filati display and inspiration areas, a designers dream.
Designers at work researching colour, texture and trend direction at the yarn fair. Planning the wardrobe you will be wearing in about a years time! We look forward to bringing you the new looks!
Entrance to Pitti Filati, numbers like huge sails blowing in the wind, a striking confident statement of colour and form true Italian style.