By Laura Chapman
The archetype of knits belonging alongside antiquated domestic drudgery and the art of housewifery has been dispelled for good. The growing trend back to this almost lost art has been taking place subtly and quietly behind the scenes and had its moment of renascent glory at the wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William in April 2011. Since then, knits have become a favorite for brides getting married early or late in the season and boutique designers offer a variety of beautifully designed and finished creations for discerning brides-to-be.
New York Weddings celebrated the knitting nuptials in its December 2012 issue. With this, the knit has now had its coming-out party and is a full-fledged belle. From decorative accessories to a full ensemble, knitting is back in vogue – though generations of knitaholics would deny it ever left. Many brides are choosing to commission or make their own wedding dresses; this reduces the cost of insuring the dress, and the brides have a made-to-measure family heirloom perfectly fit to pass down through the generations.
High Fashion Design
Catwalk designers have taken knitwear to heart. Luis Buchinho’s collection was aired at Portugal Fashion 2013 in March; his signature was apparent in the stylish sophistication of the pieces, with a broad palette of color, strongly structured overlays and unpretentious detail.
Canadian designer Mark Fast chose the setting of the ME Hotel as the backdrop for his Autumn/Winter collection for 2013/14. Creating an elegant salon ambiance for his understated collection, he aimed for a “less is more” impression and achieved exactly that. The open-knit creations that are his hallmark were in evidence throughout: Mark enjoys working with knitwear, s he finds it the best expression of his imagination. He believes that knitwear will stay in the fashion eye in the future, with contemporary yarns and imaginative design taking the craft forward.
Internationally recognized designer Paula Hian rolled out her 2013 holiday collection in New York this week, with knits made in France, where she spends her time when not in Philadelphia. Her knitwear is made in what was the original Herve Leger factory, founded by Herve Leroux (formerly Peugnet), who designed for Princess Diana. (One of Paula’s pieces is in the Louvre!) Paula’s favorite dress this season is a bronze and black sensuous cocktail dress confected of a combination of twill, knit and cloque. Buyers are quoted as saying that this is a breakthrough collection for the rising star of the fashion world.
Closer to Home
Cecilia Rebagliatti, born in Peru and now a resident of Vancouver, has made her mark using luxury and contemporary yarns imported from Europe. The fashion statement sweaters, wraps and accessories of the Cecile Benac line, hand-knitted and assembled in Vancouver, sell in up-market boutiques across the United States and Canada. The subtle influences of South American culture are incorporated into her designs using shell buttons and alpaca wool, with sporadic glimpses of bright color. Cecilia is known for her drop stitch designs: these create a lacy look which complements formal and informal outfits, looking as effective with an evening dress as they do with jeans. Winner of a number of design awards, Rebagliatti enjoys the interaction with her clients and the creative aspects of her work, finding these fulfilling and absorbing. Feminine and flattering, Cecile Benac can be found in Malary’s, Find Finds, Jacqueline Conoir Studio, Tutta Mia, Marilyn’s, and Amos and Andes.
Olena Zylak, Canadian born and bred, is another award-winning designer whose work adorns the rich and famous – people such as Natalie Cole, Prince, Olivia Newton-John and Juliette Lewis can be seen wearing her creations. Every piece is designed and made in Canada as part of Olena’s mission to ensure that everything is produced locally with the highest regard for quality and detail.
A Sad Goodbye
Ottavio Missoni, whose global fashion empire was based on his signature zigzag and striped knitwear, died on May 9 at his home in Sumirago, Italy. He was 92. Missoni was the first fashion designer to combine different patterns in coordinated separates, teaming them together to create an entirely original look. In 1955, Missoni and his wife started working for the Milan boutique, Biki, and collaborated with Hidalgo to produce collections for La Rinascente department store. In 1962, they launched the famous zigzag look and in 1967 opened their first boutique in Milan – also making the front page of Elle Magazine. By 1967, the company was selling in Paris and it was only a step from there for them to emerge in the American market in 1968 with the help of Diana Vreeland. Missoni’s undoubted influence on high fashion will be missed by everyone in the business.