Friday, 24 February 2012

Sheep on the Catwalk

Sheep everywhere will be pleased:  knitwear is back – ‘bigtime’!  London Fashion Week has been awash with innovative, creative, and in some cases quite literally sparkling knitwear designs, some even dedicated to using home-grown British wool.  If I’m able to borrow some of the pictures I’ll put them up here in future weeks, though all the show galleries and ‘lookbooks’ on the London Fashion week website are definitely worth exploring.

Like art, knitwear design is subjective.  Whether you go for something understandable and useable or something totally off the wall is instinctive to your character, and there’s plenty of character knitwear out there to be found for autumn/winter 2012.  The students on the MA course in Fashion from Central St Martins, London, shared a lot of geometry in their approach to textiles, one designer in particular featuring smart, clean lines and hints of Kandinsky in a range of chunky-looking creamy-white-based knitwear.  The sculptural look in knitwear was also a feature of Lucas Nascimento’s AW2012 collection. 

Designer Craig Lawrence says his ‘design signature’ is: “Knitting with unconventional materials to create voluminous, fluffy and shiny knits.”  His garments have apparently graced the backs of many celebrities including Lady Gaga. His work looks to me like a fresh new take on some of the netty crochet designs of the late 60s and 70s in the last century (that sounds like a long time ago!!).  It’s little wonder he has an international following amongst the celebrity set.  Meanwhile designer Michael Van Der Ham, who’s apparently worked at Alexander McQueen, was busy combining knits with more floaty materials like chiffon to create highly feminine apparel-appeal.

Emerging brands like The North Circular want to put future emphasis on pet topics of mine, namely ensuring animal welfare, reducing ‘wool miles’ and using British wool wherever possible.  Design with a conscience – good for them!  But for good honest innovative and fun knitwear you can’t beat Sister at Sibling.  Remember the Knit Monster of theirs I featured some months ago?  Well, take that concept further, into African-inspired animal prints and earth-and-sun colourings, and you can see that sheep can indeed go a long way on the London Fashion Week catwalk!

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