Stripe a Pose

{All images by Alexandra Textiles}

Top of the Socks

Socks wonderful socks, I can’t get enough of them and it seems that I am not alone.  They are a part of everybody’s wardrobe, from petit baby to granddad’s and grandmas, there is no avoiding them and why would you want to.  They keep your feet warm, dry and looking snugly cool.

A versatile accessory which can change an outfit in a finger click or should that be a toe click.  There’s a whole host of prints, yarns and lengths they can be made to but the best thing is that they can only be knitted.  I mean you could try to pattern cut a pair of socks if you wanted to but I imagine it would be pretty ridiculous, like your feet wearing a suit.

Here are some excellent sock styles to inspire all wearers of socks.

{All images by Alexandra Textiles}

Run Mark, Run!

If this collection was a person it would be a nouveau grunge girl who has a pet snake called Snatch.  She loves taking photos of shadows and collecting light bulbs. On a regular basis she has a walk through Hyde Park to watch people, creating stories from a few words of their conversation; she later draws the short stories in her comic book.  I’ll stop there other wise I will go on and on and…

So this Autumn / Winter 2012 Mark Fast collection was not as well received as his previous collections, but I don’t know why.  I think it’s the most wearable collection he has done so far and one where I would realistically wear at least half of it.  Perhaps he didn’t stretch the boat out as he may have done before but that’s not necessarily such a bad thing.  Variety in collections is always good, if you keep making avant garde pieces you will never make enough money as a brand to survive, unless House of Gaga buys every single item in the collection and even that will probably just about cover the cost of putting on the show itself.

The collection was luxurious and oozing the trade mark sex appeal that he has developed.  Maybe that is what he was trying to change by being more appealing  to more people whose lifestyle is not confound to swooning in out of parties, but that is good, that is how you develop and become a successful designer.  So do not run anywhere Mark stay here in London, it’s designers like you that get people talking about knitwear.

I do apologise for the poor quality images, the demand for a place at the Mark Fast show is always over the limit so I was wedged at the back, but it wasn’t too bad, I had Nathan Moy (Style Niche) a really cool dude to keep me company.

[All images by Alexandra Textiles]

For a better view of the collection, watch this video or visit Mark Fast. 

Snow Lilly

Loden is the name given to a wool binding process which has a deep heritage dating back to somewhat 500 years ago from the Austrian mountains.  This tradition has been past on through generations and has been applied by Lilly Marthe Ebener to create these delicate yet totally snug pieces which are easily positioned into any wardrobe.  The clean shapes of in the cardigans and jumpers are perfect for the current milder winter days; the wholesome luxury which they ooze would make any outfit look like effortless decadence.

[Images via Lilly Marthe Ebener]

A Good Russet Apple

I’m no stranger to an apple or two, if it keeps the doctor away than it can’t be all that bad.   Over the years I have had the pleasure of tasting every apple available on the supermarket shelf and picking my own in various locations around France and Britain, not on special trips to some sort of apple picking farms but mostly at the side of country roads and woodland where wild apples grow.  So over some time I have become a bit of an apple connoisseur you could say, with some wild varieties being my favourite, but lately as I am spending a lot more time around building than trees, I have grown to love some of the supermarket varieties.  Firstly I always buy British, to support our farmers and because they are generally fresher and tastier.  Recently on my quest to eating healthier I have grown keener and keener on the Egremont Russet apple, so much so that I refuse to eat any other apple whilst these wonderful, rusticoated apples are in season.

Enough about apples, lets crunch on to Ipek Arnas who herself is not a stranger to fruit and cosy country scenes. Although she prefers to put them on her knitwear, rather than drone on about it in a blog.  Her delightfully quirky collections are playful with an à la retro touch.  She mainly uses hand knitting techniques for these limited pieces, which in part I am guessing is why her collection is called 2TERS1DUZ, translating “Knit 1Perl 2” the basic hand knitting stitch. She lives in Turkey which is where her things are produced, and where she does freelance work for other designers and yarn companies.  This tasty treat is not going out of season.

[Images via 2TERS1DUZ]

The boy from Ipanema

Lucas Nascimento is a knitwear designer from Brazil hence the title, although not sure how accurate the Ipanema origin is.  He lives and works mostly in London and had already gained himself a reputation in knitwear whilst working for other clients, before launching his own label.  I was actually in the same knitwear group as him in University where he was already in the process of creating his label and always came out with some spectacular things at the end of each assignment.  This February he will be doing his first show at London Fashion Week as part of the NEWGEN scheme.

Each collection has acquired a distinctive silhouette and is a melange of simple knitwear techniques which have been mastered and as a process evolved into something new.  The carefully selected colours have been placed to give an almost graphic quality to each piece.  As you may find out throughout the course of this blog I love sheer knitwear, which he positions to highlight the body that is underneath.

Great stuff, you will be seeing more of this one soon.

[All images are from Lucas Nascimento]

What Snow? It’s 34 degrees in Brazil!

Yes there is snow outside, but I cannot help and dream of long summer days to come.  Later on I will be trying to recreate the feeling of summer at Bikram yoga, wearing simply a top and shorts for the practice in a 40 degree heated room, phew.

Speaking of hot places the designer  Helen Rodel comes from the tropical climate of Brazil.  I came upon her work with a wondrous surprise; to me it signifies the natural beauty that comes from creating knitwear by hand.  The precision, patience and time which you need for this practice is truly commendable.  Hand knitting techniques are definitely not for the faint hearted and if you are doing a knitwear course and have decided to use hand knitting in your collection I would strongly advise that you find someone else to do it for you.

The value of handmade knitwear is becoming increasingly more precious, as a lot of designers prefer to use machine knitting in their collections, which is really fair enough because it can be tough to try and make a profit out of creativity.  Although a lot use manual machines, myself included which is faster than hand knitting but still requires gallons of patience, precision and time.

The word I would use to describe Helen Rodels designs is ‘Haute Knitouture’ (knit + haute couture), these kind of pieces are more like art works in themselves.  She has a small team of artisans who help her knit and crochet the collections.  Her vision is like that of giving life and meaning to something new, whilst clothing and ornamenting the body.  The techniques used in the collection are a mix of crochet and knit and the colours are bright and sweet like popsicles, makes me smile just looking at them.

I have also added a wonderful video about her craft.  An inspiration for the hot summer days.

[Both film and images are from Helen Rodel website.]

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