Economy Top of Mind at Lineapelle

BOLOGNA, Italy — The mood was mixed at the latest edition of leather trade show Lineapelle, which ran here April 3-5.

“For the moment, [business] is going well. 2011 was very positive in terms of sales, and we hope to get the same results this year,” said Anna Patti, exports manager at Naples, Italy-based Russo di Casandrino SpA. “Our clients are all positioned in the luxury segment, which isn’t suffering, but we noticed they are more prudent and they tend to avoid materials that are too decorated and colorful, which they can’t reuse the following season.”

“The high-end market is growing,” said Enrica Miramonti, sales director of Conceria Gaiera Giovanni SpA. “But we lost the medium-sized Italian clients, who, for economic reasons, are looking for cheaper products.”

Lack of liquidity was one of the main problems highlighted by the fair’s vendors, who were showcasing hides for summer ’13.

“It’s very hard to get paid by clients who have not only been impacted by the general crisis but have also been damaged by the weird weather of the last two seasons,” said Alberto Valente, sales manager for Lanificio Bigagli SpA in Italy’s Tuscany region.

Positive signals were coming from emerging countries, such as India and China, which Patti pointed to as the most promising markets. “The requests from those countries are increasing because they are developing their own brands and we are trying to educate them on how to recognize exceptional quality,” she said.

On the trend front, exhibitors focused on eye-catching color effects, sophisticated treatments and delicate tones juxtaposed with neon flashes and bold prints. Here are the top five trends:

Light & shade:
Laminated, iridescent and mother-of-pearl finishes were a must at the show, in a shimmering color palette spanning more-discrete, sorbet tones and disco-inspired silver and gold hues.

Going soft:
Pastels continue their positive momentum, as well as powdery tones of pinks, grays and blues.

Glow in the dark:
Neon accents added a playful touch to patent leather and technical materials.

Animal instincts:
Exhibitors took a trip to the zoo for their prints, inspired by a wide range of felines, reptiles and fish.

Right touch:
Whether woven and interlaced or laser cut, textured surfaces were a primary trend for summer at Lineapelle.

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