By which we mean the cosy or cute sort that calls to mind something traditional or old-fashioned. This season, London’s designers have become especially creative with their knitwear, promoting it from supporting act to leading role. And not in the way you’d necessarily expect for the winter season - where berry hues and forest tones so often tend to dominate the space as we go in search of a cosy pub fireplace. Instead, an exuberant and punchy palette is on the agenda. And it makes for a feisty – and very welcome - change.
At Matty Bovan, that came in thick yarn dresses, slouchy slogan jumpers and jumper dresses and what appeared to be wrap shawls. The York-based designer has long been known for his weaving tricks and here they stood out as the most wearable of his crazy-collage gowns – and early on in the week put in a good word for the return of the jumper dress courtesy of look 12.
Ashley Williams, whose collection was notably a highlight of the week (sometimes you don’t have to be a “big” designer to make a great collection – humour and personality in clothes makes for her great strength), gave us some great knit options too. Jumpers strewn in shoes – drawn like they were on birthday cards when you were 13 and interested in fashion – or depicting little flowers and bears, were really cute and really cool. Something she is very good at doing – this was a strong collection beyond the knits. Check out look 4, 9, 26 (Tesla truck!) and 28 for starters.
Turning any sense of tradition completely on its head, Gareth Wrighton, “in his quest to knit the impossible”, was particularly adventurous and repurposed 344 used make-up wipes to create his opening look as well as used hair from his own head to knit a vest (!). Throughout, the Fashion East designer used knitwear as a basis for politically-charged slogans on jumpers, which also included what has now become a signature of his - the landscape sweater.
Strongest among the On|Off line-up this season was 404 Studio, a Spanish-based brand for whom knitwear is inspired by film and the idea of reinvention. Bright and zingy, in crochet and glittery yarn, there was a vibrant disco feel – but it was the serene and zen looks all in white, look 3 in particular, that worked best. Further exploration into this next season please.