This proved highly successful both with the public and the sector, obtaining the participation of over 200 operators from the American fashion system. The museum, Frank Lloyd Wright’s enormous spiral and one of the most famous places in the world, was chosen to enable the consortium to emphasise their intention to associate vegetable tanned leather with culture and art; a perfect partnership of tradition and innovation, from aesthetic appearance to quality.

Representatives of the most important trade journals and the most important operators on the American market took part including: Armani, Polo Ralph Lauren, Banana Republic, Tommy Hilfiger, DKNY, Coach, Kenneth Cole, John Varvatos.

The presentation by the international researcher into trends and expert on fashion tendencies, Angelo Uslenghi, was particularly appreciated with comments on the atmosphere, colours and various types of fashion that will dominate in the fall/winter 2004-05 season. The three themes identified and explained during the course of the meeting concentrate on the primary values of present day society; in other words, safety and protection, gentleness and warmth as well as a daring and highly stimulating imagination.

‘Shielding’ – medium to thick cowhide featuring relief, layering, incisions in addition to corroded and abrasive treatments to express a rugged sense of protection and defence. The colours will be dense, thick, ironlike, vegetable and mineral but also decorative, upholstery, abstract art.

‘Sensitive’ – medium to thin cowhide, full grain, nappa finish, milled and oiled to soften, enhancing suppleness and flexibility to encourage intimacy and warmth. The colours will be warm, opulent, natural, creamy but also fruity, pulpy and candy shades.

‘Striking’ – cowhide reflects maximum creativity with contrasting aspects and workmanship often to extremes, confirming the versatility and vitality of the vegetable tanned leather. Nocturnal colours, darkened, dim, obscure but also acid, flashing, fluorescent, able to exalt a daring creativeness and stimulate a bit of eccentricity.

As well as receiving material help for preparing their future collections, the participants had the opportunity to view, in a world preview, the leather samples in line with the new trends produced by the thirty associated tanneries to the technical specifications received from their expert Angelo Uslenghi.

Much interest was shown in the prototypes on view which demonstrated to designers and manufacturers how this type of leather can, from a technical point of view, adapt to new fashion requirements by combining beauty, quality and fashion perfectly. A video about the various production stages and about Tuscany also drew the attention of visitors.

The value of Tuscan tradition, much loved by the Americans, was recalled during the opening speech by one of the Consortium’s councillors, who after explaining the various stages of production in the tanneries from a technical point of view, also thanked Toscana Promozione for the assistance offered to the Consortium in organising this edition of Natural Sensations.

The next Natural Sensations meeting will be held on September 24 in Florence, Italy, during the trade fair ModaPelle by Pitti Immagine, in the charming surroundings of the Stazione Leopolda.