Those of you who know me, know I love my “Boho Chic”, but I have of late been completely inspired by a new modern group of knitwear designers… lets call them the “contructionists”. They are taking knitwear to the most artistic heights and they really prove once and for all that fashion is just as powerful an art form as some of our most famous masterpieces…
I read about Sandra Backlund recently and planned on writing about her at a later date, but when I received several pages ripped out of a Wallpaper magazine featuring inspired knitwear “architects”, I became compelled to blog By the way, the pages came from my mother who is one of my favorite “editors”…she sends me clippings often as she is a voracious magazine reader. Sandra Backlund is an emerging Swedish knitwear designer. Her creations are sculptural, sensual and at times seem protective, almost like armor or a shell. They make a dramatic statement and will definitely spice up your tired sweater collection. As they are focal pieces, wear them with simple leggings or skinny jeans and boots. You won’t need any embellishment! Right now, I can only find her collection in Europe, but I am sure she will hit the US market soon.
Another up-and-comer is Brit designer, Simone Shailes. Her sweaters are similar to Sandra Backlund’s in that they are chunky, seem to be composed of almost fluid, tubular shapes and seem reminiscent of corsets or once again armor. Hers are body conscious and have peek-a-boo details…expose your skin for a sexy, power-female vibe or layer over a tee shirt or simple blouse for a less obvious effect. Keep the bottom portion simple, as her sweaters also speak for themselves.
If such aggressive and powerful styling is not your thing, there are other knitwear resources that also can quench your thirst for high-design and artistic expression. I briefly mentioned Ilaria Nistri in yesterday’s blog. Her designs are soft and sensuous, but 100% sculpted and constructed. Lutz & Patmos, available at Barneys have been on the scene for a while now and create some of the simplest classic knitwear to styles that fold and drape and move. They also have a more contemporary line, called Leroy & Perry, which they design exclusively for Barneys Co-op.
Many women don’t use knitwear in their daily wardrobes. They see it more as the cozy-weekend-go-to and other than a sweater set, which is a big “yawn”, they don’t know how to incorporate it into their work wardrobes. Now I am not recommending that you necessarily wear a Sandra Backlund or Simone Shailes creation to the office, as I see them as such standout, special pieces that I would wear for special occasions…lose the cocktail dress. That being said an amazing, sculptural knitwear masterpiece worn over a simple dress or with a “flowy” blouse and pant will really set you apart in the office. Use a slightly fitted or boxy cardigan-shape or asymetrical sweater to replace a jacket and add a touch of femininity to any business outfit. Again, skip the classic cardigan and experiment with some of the sumptuous, chunky styles that are readily available at stores like Anthropologie. One of my obsessions this season was the Alexander Wang boucle vest, long sold-out everywhere…I am still kicking myself for not buying it.
So, embrace a little construction...an amazing textural or sculptural sweater will not only up your style quotient exponentially, but it will make you stand-out from the pack, allow you to show your softer, feminine and even romantic side and will proudly display your love of fashion as art!!!