The Aladdin’s Cave

We meet Sonia Veroni, owner of historic knitwear factory Modateca Deanna

Pitti Filati is celebrating Italy’s special talent for knitwear through the incredible archives of Miss Deanna, a long-established knitwear firm which has been working with the world’s leading designers since the 1970s. A special exhibit is being installed at the Fortezza Da Basso and curated by Sonia Veroni, expert leading figure - that from Deanna Ferretti Veroni has inherited concreteness, sensitivity and forward-thinking - of the historic knitwear factory. 
 
Italy is one of the world’s leading nations when it comes to knitwear. What direction do you think we’ll be taking in the near future in terms of trends and demand from the market? 
Know-how, quality, and that perfect blend of innovation and craftsmanship so typical of Italian companies is what attracts luxury brands and creative talents from all over the world. Italy has what it takes to make the world’s most beautiful knitwear. We have a knack for finding the right solutions, always balancing innovation and tradition. I believe that the market is pushing towards a more sustainable kind of fashion that complies with regulations, and is asking for guarantees of traceability. This is another area in which our country is leading the way; our companies are regulation-compliant and provide adequate guarantees, and our business owners were among the first to have recognised this need and become equipped to respond to these new challenges. 
 
What will you be putting on stage as part of the creative showcase at Pitti Filati? What is the leitmotif of this project?
This year Pitti Filati wants to highlight part of the work we do at Modateca Deanna, which is gathering, preserving and promoting the creativity of Italian manufacturing. In a nutshell, Modateca gives a ‘home’ to those collections which we feel are representative of excellence in knitwear, even though they may not necessarily have been manufactured by our own historic Maglificio Miss Deanna, which makes up the core of our historical archives. In this case we decided to put a special spotlight on Marina Spadafora; in the 1990s she and her family-run business created some ground-breaking knitwear collections, combining creativity, innovation and Italian expertise. 
 
What are your main sources of inspiration in creative terms? 
From what we are told by the designers who visit Modateca or the students who come from all over the world to attend the Creative Knitwear Master run by the Costume and Fashion Academy at the Modateca Hub, it’s really hard to list sources of inspiration, as there are so many and they’re so subjective. Pitti Filati has always been a truly important, stimulating trade fair for anyone who designs by using yarn as their starting point; but the same goes for social networks, sports, all kinds of art, film, music, industrial design, architecture not to mention more specific research into trends, international fashion shows, trade fairs and vintage shows, and archives. The list could go on forever!
 
Starting in the 1970s, you have always worked with the world’s top designers. Which do you think has been the ‘golden era’ for knitwear, so far?
Knitwear has a very long history behind it, but undoubtedly the 1970s and 1980s were very significant, stimulating decades in creative and technological terms. But knitwear has been making a comeback on many of the world’s catwalks for several seasons now; this is in large part thanks to technological innovation and experimentation, which are used for knitwear in increasingly exciting ways. 
 
How many garments, styles and trends make up your incredible archive? 
The sheer amount is truly astonishing; it’s hard to describe such a vast archive in words. I like to define it as an ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ which contains everything imaginable, it just depends what each individual is looking to discover.