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Noticed: London Designers Look To A Checkered (Tweedy And Knitted) Past


You had to reconsider your notions about the crotchety and crocheted Afghan throw after it showed up in both printed and actual knitted form on the runways of vastly different British designers Christopher Kane (above left) and Henry Holland (above center). That’s just one example of the subverted Anglican heritage thread running through the London shows. Holland, whose inspiration was actually All Things Granny, also made use of bona fide Harris tweed, made special for him in candy brights. Then there’s Louise Gray, a designer to whom the word traditional very rarely applies, who both subverted and celebrated her Scottish heritage blowing up and pixellating tartan prints on mohair coats and deconstructing color-blocked Aran pullovers (above right).

It was definitely a moment for the Scots. Julien Macdonald danced a dark-edged Highland fling for his fall collection. And at Pringle of Scotland, the 195 year-old company where the H-word (that’s heritage, not Highland) is always a part of the recipe in varying amounts, designer Clare Waight Keller (who announced her resignation last week) blew up tweeds and remixed the good old Fair Isle into something fringed and bohemian. Perhaps she took a cue from the Pringle Archive Project, also shown during London Fashion Week, where Central Saint Martins MA students were asked to create new knitwear inspired by the company’s recently amassed collection of pieces dating back to the 1930s. The best results were refreshingly simple in execution. “The funniest thing to me is that when they got the whole archive together, what they chose to be inspired by,” said Professor Louise Wilson, the school’s legendary MA course director who headed up the project. “If you look at their portfolios, it’s quite obscure. But I would have been very disappointed if they’d started doing beading and bows.”

Photos: Alessandro Viero / (Kane and Holland); Yannis Vlamos / (Gray)

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