“This cloth does not crease” is a claim I have heard proudly associated with many wool and wool-blend fabrics over the years at various textile fairs. I am usually quite dismissive and say I have absolutely no use for such a material; if I am buying suiting, I need cloths that are really good at creasing. I need a cloth that will hold a really sharp crease in the front and the back of the trousers. When I reveal my reasoning, it is explained (usually through gritted teeth) that these cloths will, of course, hold a magnificent crease and that the creases it avoids are the unsightly ones at the back of the knees and at the elbows. Impressive stuff. I have tried many of the so-called travel cloths and there are some great ones out there - fabrics that can hold the shape they were tailored into.
A recent addition to this genre is the iTravel collection from Lanificio Cerruti. Fresh to the touch and springy in feel, it has a stain-proof and water-resistant finish that is applied with nanotechnology that lasts beyond several dry-cleans. Although with a stain-resistant finish and excellent recovery, dry-cleaning should be a rare occurrence. The iTravel bunch is ideal for suits, blazers and trousers.
But of course, in the modern world of business and travel, dress codes are relaxing, updating and evolving. Vitale Barberis Canonico of Italy has recognised this and created a whole range of technological cloths that combine the best features of wool with innovative finishes. Their Earth, Wind & Fire collection celebrates the elegance of their classic collection of worsteds and woolen flannels with high performance. What I admire most about this collection is that it harnesses all that is best about natural fibres and enhances them rather than masks them. Wool is naturally hypoallergenic, moisture-wicking and fire-retardant before it has any additional properties added to it. It is also supremely stylish. A recent cloth from Vitale Barberis Canonico combines a modern silk and wool jacketing with a polyurethane membrane adding a water resistant element and breathability with minimum impact on the environment. A lightweight topcoat fashioned in this material could take the wearer from airport to smart city restaurant via the boardroom with easy elegance. The modern consumer wants to travel light and craves versatility and comfort.