For those of you who have never had to source your own leather or skins, let me break down this down for you: Linea Pelle is the Mecca of the leather trade fairs. Every 6 months both buyers and suppliers alike flock to Milan for this three day event. If Black Friday is a shoppers sprint, Linea Pelle is a manufacturers marathon. With many ambitious designers flying into Milan in the morning and out again on the very same day, you’re hard pushed to get round the six vast exhibition halls in time. You can spot the veterans a mile off – trainer clad, OAP-style wheely bags in tow- they’re prepared to hustle and they’ve looked up in advance which stalls they want to visit. Then there’s me. I’d probably drunk too much Italian wine in the hotel bar the night before, and by lunch my backpack, chocka block full of samples, is weighing down on my shoulders as I seek out the ‘bean bag zone’ where a dozen other people like comatosed on the floor.
The scale and quality of all the fabrics, leathers, skins, soles and accessories is another level. I felt like Charlie Bucket with my golden ticket to the land where all my dreams are sewn together. There was so much inspiration on every corner, blink and you'd miss something that next seasons collection would form around. All this awe juxtaposed with the fact that there’s so little time to get in, get samples and get out. The clock was ticking.
Now don't get me wrong, however manic Linea Pella may seem at this point, you mustn't go thinking it's the Italian edition of Supermarket Sweep. Being a Brit I had chosen to tackle this beast against the clock, where as most Italians can afford to take it at a more sedate pace: nibble a bit of parmesan here, try an olive there, whilst animately embracing and catching up in front of the rails with old friends who have been in the business for years. Next door to them I stood in stark comparison, busy sign-haggling with Portuguese tanners who spoke no English, on a never ending quest for Cobalt blue and Rose gold. The good news for Rogues was that there was an abundance of pony skin on offer: a wide variety of shades, bespoke printing, laser cut designs and metallic burnt out varieties. A lot to play with and a lot to think about.
Finally, as I sat exhausted in Malpensa airport reviewing the days findings, there is one thing of which I'm perfectly sure: there are exciting things on the horizon for Rogues, so watch this space...