In the Cold selection the colours were thin and muted; shades of white through to pale green and grey then onto black. This range is intended to draw attention to shape and form and create a sense of calm relaxation. The cool colours certainly are restful on the eye.

The Aromatic range was dark with blues, violets and blacks intended to be deep and sombre; an unusual concept for summer. The darker colours did, however, lend a backdrop for bold prints in geometric and floral patterns.

The sombre shades of the Aromatic range was off-set by the Sour selection which was altogether more up-lifting with a range of fresh lighter colours with greens, ochre and reds shining through. Glitter and metallic effects were still to be found, but were much more subdued and more natural in appearance than previous shows. This collection is intended to give a feel of lightness.

The last range – Spice, had a rather autumnal feel to it with its collection of ochre, browns and wine-like reds – the colours you would find in dried leaves.

Overall, the theme in the Trends area was very ‘natural’ in appearance, not only in terms of colour, but also texture. The ‘quilted’ effect seen in autumn last year has taken on new and more intricate designs and 3-dimentional flowers being created on leather. Many of the brown and ochre colours were combined with bark effect patterns. Laser-cut and perforated floral effects were abundant. The ‘natural’ theme was also reflected in the many hair-on samples displayed.

These ranges were presented in an area decorated in an eye-catching vivid apple green colour and even had wooden crates of green apples on display which, despite the netting over the top, appeared noticeably emptier by the last day of the show! An altogether more vibrant and pleasing display area than recent previous shows.

After Lineapelle, the samples on display in the Trends Area will be on show in the LP Fashion Studio in Milan until next September.

As seen in the autumn/winter 2007/8 trend collection shown last November, brown is still dominant, but an altogether more uplifting natural shade of brown with more orange and ochre present. This natural feel was reflected in many of the leathers shown in the halls with some using wood as a display aid as the colour of the wood complemented the colours of the leather well. Tre Gazzelle SpA used glass-topped pits of bark chips set into the floor of their stand and Solofra Skins Production SRL had slices of wood as a back-drop for their display.

More of the exhibitors in the leather halls were using new and innovative ways to display their leather. It was refreshing to see a move away from leathers hung on a rail or the ‘jumble sale’ look of leather laid in a heap on a table. Many displayed their leathers made up into products such as bags and shoes – it is much better to show what your leather can really do rather than just showing the leather!

Montebello Conceria SpA took this a stage further with a leather covered MG sports car that generated much interest. This concept facilitates a whole new design of eye catching display areas with the ‘shop window’ look to entice customers in. Dolmen SpA have really perfected this art with their seriously eye-catching display of bags and shoes in a vivid yellow shop-like display – complete with tulips in full bloom!

Lighting technology is also being used to great effect producing a theatrical feel to some displays. Talking of theatrical, the ostrich skeleton (and nest complete with eggs) on Intuitive SRL’s stand certainly was that.

The ‘eco’ leather trend is on the increase with more stands advertising chrome-free leather, especially for footwear. Some, such as the White Line range shown by Tarnsjo Gaveri AB, are vegetable tanned. Others, such as Greentech by Prealpina SRL and Greenpell leather by Foder Point SRL, are wet-white based.

The ‘eco’ label is also turning up on leathers finished with solvent-free finishes, eg Ecoderm by Gidue SRL. It is envisaged that the ‘eco’ concept will soon be big business in the leather sector and beyond as the large brands are beginning to take it really seriously.

Andrew Kirby, development director of Start-rite Shoes Ltd, reported that his company are not only looking at ‘eco’ leathers that do not contain chromium, but are also giving more consideration to how ‘eco-friendly’ their packaging and printing is as well.

Needless to say, not all the leather on show was of the natural look and brown – there are still some really eye-catching and innovative leathers out there. Valdarno International SpA displayed some stunning holographic finished sole leather with real ‘wow’ factor and D’Alessio Galliano had some very intricate laser-cut leathers that incorporated silk-like fabrics that showed through the cut areas. Not only did this look good with the antique metallic finished leather, but also imparted strength to the product that would otherwise have limited applications because of the weakness of the lace-like leather. They also had some good examples of appliqué and embroidered leather.

Exhibitors reported that the first day was worryingly quiet, but expectations were raised with more activity on day two and most reported a reasonably successful show. Despite the return of Tanning Tech for this fair, the numbers of visitors and exhibitors remained generally low – perhaps it was a bit too close to APLF in Hong Kong that took place just two weeks earlier.

As a closing observation – what a shame that the beautiful and historic city of Bologna has fallen foul of the graffiti artist; virtually every single wall within the city has been decorated. Whilst visitors may have come primarily for the exhibition, they should at least expect pleasant surroundings in which to spend their evenings.