They were selling colour straw baskets as essential fashion accessories light years before Lulu Guinness got around to the same idea this summer. In fact, designer Saffo Marchi started harnessing the traditional straw weaving skills of outworkers in the Carpi region of Italy to the needs of high fashion as far back as the mid-l950s. But Saffo and the company she founded to market her unique wares internationally have now moved on. Today the principal output of the Bologna-based group is knitwear, with own label collections produced for major retail chains in Germany and the Netherlands contributing a major share of its revenue. But side by side with its contract knitwear business, Saffo has continued to run its own labels, and now plans the UK relaunch of a brand that made its first appearance in l974. The name that will appear on this classically styled men's wear collection will be Point of Italy. The plan is to run it alongside the existing Saffo and Tessitore labels which their creators claim are now selling successfully through some 2000 outlets across the EU. Britain has been selected to spearhead the campaign to re-establish the Point of Italy name because it is felt that the use of luxury fibre yarns, combined with easy fitting garment styling and subtle colourways, is a look particularly suited to the taste of the better end UK consumer.