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From the Bible to Marni: how mohair became the trend of the season

Angora wool through the centuries and the catwalks

From the Bible to Marni: how mohair became the trend of the season Angora wool through the centuries and the catwalks

Among the improbable and questionable combinations to which the fashion world has accustomed us in recent years, the unpredictable connection that binds Moses (yes, that Moses) and Marni could seem unheard of, even sacrilegious. In reality there is a subtle fil rouge, of a very specific material, which unites the key figure of the Bible and the brand led by Francesco Risso. That red thread is composed of 100% mohair, a very precious material that in recent months has conquered menswear, declined in the form of cardigans, pullovers, gloves and accessories of various kinds, returning to men's luxury menswear a passion for texture that, in recent years, had been completely forgotten. Before getting to the lookbooks of Marni himself or brands like Aimé Leon Dore, where mohair is the master, we need to take a step (very) back. In the beginning it was Moses, we said, who named this specific fabric, which according to tradition made up the curtains of the Tabernacle, produced from the wool of the Angora goats, originally from Turkey. "Mukhyar" was in fact the Turkish term that indicated the finest wools, still produced in the country, as well as in Europe, South Africa and the United States. The goats from which mohair is obtained are sheared twice a year and produce between 5 and 8 kg of wool per year. 

Will the portrait of one of these goats on the cover of a Pearl Jam album, Vs, have cemented the relationship between mohair and grunge aesthetics? We cannot say it with certainty, but what is certain is that the cardigan worn by another illustrious exponent of that musical current, Kurt Cobain, and recently auctioned for over 330 thousand dollars, has helped to give shape to a specific aesthetic, grunge precisely, apparently scruffy, which did not hide holes, defects and wear, and for this cozy and reassuring. The rediscovery of this imaginary has gone hand in hand with the evolution of streetwear, or rather, with its decline, moving towards more "adult" garments, less linked to the season and drops, but devoted to the construction of a wardrobe that lasts over time, a principle that has contributed to the success of Aimé Leon Dore, for example. 

This is an evolution well witnessed and told by the protagonists of the Podcast Throwing Fits, who in recent years have made moccasins and mohair cardigans the new pillars of a menswear now saturated with hoodies, track pants and sneakers. The so-called Bro-Hair, as GQ defined them, they wear mohair cardigans signed Awake NY, ERL, Needles, Amiri, Moncler, Raf Simons, Jil Sander, items with classic lines that play on geometries and colors made psychedelic wanderings by the vaporous consistency of this precious wool. Prada offers a 2.0 version of the contemporary intellectual, in a total look in mohair, with geometric print, while Kim Jones from Dior focuses on designs and colors that recall childhood. Instagram has become the breeding ground for the proliferation and success of emerging brands and slow fashion that play with mohair for the production of bags, such as Anton Belinskiy, or who create lookbooks that seem to be drawn in pastel, taking advantage of the infinite applications, and the intrinsic elegance of this type of wool, as Nong Rak does.

The great success of mohair in recent months, however, is due to Marni, the Milan-based brand led by Francesco Risso, whose mohair garments have achieved a success comparable to that reserved for the now legendary JW Anderson cardigan worn by Harry Styles, making itself known to a new audience conquered by that mood halfway between the Grinch and the nineties sweaters given by grandmothers. The mohair according to Marni is not afraid to dare, both in the colors, very bright, pop, which do not go unnoticed, both in the silhouettes, be they mules, crew-neck sweaters, cardigan with V-neck or vest. The ultra colorful sweaters, very soft, fun and cozy, have become viral both on Instagram and on TikTok, a symptom of a transgenerational trend that has led Marni to communicate with a younger audience, which recognizes itself in this fun but very high quality menswear. 

In addition to comfort, warmth and eclectic design, there is more behind the success of this trend. After two years spent consuming fashion and its products remotely, watching digital shows, buying drops and collections online, perpetually in front of a screen, there is a strong need for a more tactile, material, real fashion, which focuses on the sensations given by the item, and which is connected to the spread of knitwear, crochet, and brands such as BODE. In the face of always the same drops, invariably composed of hoodies, jackets and T-shirts that are always the same, the mohair offers the opportunity to experiment, to get out of your comfort zone, to take the next step in a scenario in which even sneakers could have their days numbered. If the pandemic has upset everything, it is more than right to want to leave the house covered, protected by a warm, soft wool, as if we were still under the covers.