Several qualified clients showed up, “not only the traditional ones, including the luxury fashion companies as well as the most prestigious brands, but also new players, small and medium sized, who search, at Lineapelle, for reliable partners in terms of product quality, outstanding service and innovation”. Lineapelle, “the trade business experience for global fashion & luxury industry worldwide”, on its 94th edition, held at Fieramilano Rho on February 20-22, ended a few days ago. As reported by organizers, “over 20,000 visitors, coming from 109 countries, joined the exhibition: overall attendance was in line with the one of last February 2017 edition”. This edition was peculiar to some extent, since “French buyers increased (+6%), and Chinese remarkably dropped as expected (-30%) owing to the national New Year’s Eve. By and large, points out Lineapelle, the exhibition event mirrored the general business situation, marked out by an extremely cautious attitude and, more specifically, by a very demanding and selective clientele with regard to suppliers. Many visitors turned up at the stands that were exhibiting advanced and innovative samples, ready to meet, from a style point of view, summer 2019 trends. Yet considerably various and determined to provide visitors with tangible suggestions and inspiration”. Such remarks were confirmed by opinions expressed at the stands. “We noticed much interest in laminated and printed leather for footwear; as regards customers, I would say that Spanish and Americans were the most dynamic ones”. Andrea Montagnani is the export manager at Caravaggio tannery: “Despite a lively vitality during the fair” – he admits – “2017 proved to be less rewarding than expected, whereas 2018 has started according to promising preconditions”. Actually, Italian leather business is currently facing some difficulties: Dino De Maio (DMD Solofra) agrees on that, while depicting the present situation as “hard-going” and pointing out that “a lot of pressure is affecting prices: different clients, from different countries, make the same requests”. Both figures, provided by Aimpes, and financial statements, edited by the fashion brands, outline that leather goods are currently doing well. “Still there is not a recovery for Italian tanning industry though – remarks Marco Masini, from Conti tannery -: one thing is to work with the brands on fire. Otherwise, we have to direct our manufacturing at international markets”. On the one hand, leather professionals are concerned about the bag sizes (which are getting smaller); on the other hand, “high-end leather goods necessarily rely on quality hides – points out Simona Cecere (Carisma) -, with no large-cut imperfections”.