Stella Tennant and the age-defying sweaters

Stella Tennant and the age-defying sweaters

Feeling the need for a good ol’ fashion bask last night, I went combing through the Spring 2018 runway collections, and wow did they leave me wanting. (At least we had this.) The only thing that really lit me up was this photo of Stella Tennant (one of my all-time favorites) looking amazing on the Balenciaga runway. Which reminded me: Over the past few years, I’ve run into multiple references to an editorial that apparently ran in the November 1996 issue of Vogue — more specifically Vogue Paris, it turns out — in which Stella swanned around in some of the most perfect knits imaginable, which is exactly what I was craving. So I googled. It’s hard to be 100% certain of anything under these circumstances, but I believe all of the images here are from that editorial. And since I could gaze at them forever, would like to be certain about which others of all the images that come up in a Google image search are from the same story, and want to see the whole thing in its original glory, I actually went to eBay and found a copy for sale.

1996 is the year I moved from Austin to Columbus to San Francisco — changing jobs and cities twice — and I remember the state of fashion pretty vividly as a result. Especially the state of street style in SF that winter. There are a lot of similarities between that moment and this moment, but even so, if I told you these images were from the November 2017 issue, nobody would doubt it for an instant. In fact, plug in any year between then and now and it works.

The cardigan in the top photo brings to mind the Lauren Manoogian version that’s been all the rage for several years now, but in a somewhat more gossamer form. Or something like an oversized Cabernet? The turtleneck worn with it is essentially a shorter Forester, with wider waist ribbing. (Or try Carrowkeel with two strands of fingering held together for the marl.) And the coat below makes me think of Brandi Harper’s new Carmen Coat.

Stella Tennant and the age-defying sweaters

By the way, did I mention that Paulina Porizkova was at Rhinebeck? Sadly, I did not bump into her.

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PREVIOUSLY in Fashion: First of the Best of Spring 2018

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23 thoughts on “Stella Tennant and the age-defying sweaters

  1. So romantic! Brings to mind Charlotte Rampling’s perfect sweaters in the movie 45 Years. How both Stella and Charlotte have been filmed evokes in me the same lovely dreamy mix of elegance and earthiness.
    Interesting to think about knitting projects as fulfilling a fantasy. For me, until just now, it’s been about the craft, style, color, hand and usefulness. But fantasy. Thanks, Karen!

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  2. How interesting, thank you for posting this. I am always looking for knitwear that will stay in style (why spend over 80 hours knitting something that will look so 2017 in 2018?) and always think of the tight straight knits of the forties and fifties that yes, don’t date, but I don’t want to wear in the first place. Ease and a gentle oversize fit can be a way to go as well.

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    • There are people who believe it’s tilting at windmills, but I’ve been around long enough to know that there are styles that endure. The details may change as far as what’s “in” at any given moment — hem length, rib width, whatever — but there are just some things that always look good, and what changes is what you wear them *with*.

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  3. Brings back such great memories. We were living in Wash, DC at the time and my LYS was heavily into Rowan and Alice Starmore (I was so lucky to be able to take classes with Alice). A good contemporary version of the turtleneck might be Churchmouse Yarns’ Better-Than-Basic pullover. The coat photo you’ve included really is fantastic. I have a thing for knitted coats, and once almost had an accident when I was driving in Bethesda, MD and became distracted by a walker wearing a Kaffe Fassett full length coat which was blowing in the breeze behind her. Makes my new Audrey’s Coat (finished only yesterday) feel much too tame!

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    • I wish I had one! But really you could do it with any deep v-neck. Just pick up all the way around the edge, don’t join in the round — knit back and forth for the ribbing to the desired depth, then seam the two loose edges down along the V.

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  4. She’s a beautiful woman and is aging so gracefully. And a pack of beautiful kids and a castle or two in her family makes for a very photogenic life, top model career notwithstanding. Anyway, It is that very green sweater on Stella that made me crave a green sweater when it was posted on IG a few weeks ago. I never would have known it was not current! Alas, it is harder than I thought to find just the right green in just the right weight…but your post makes me want to keep trying.

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    • That’s funny — where was it on IG? I agree, I adore this green and greens are so so hard to get right. I’m actually eager to see how accurate this scan is to the original, but I’ll now be eternally hunting for yarn that looks exactly like this, regardless.

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  5. Talk about timeless classics! Love the Forrester.
    And talking about Paulina Porizkova, it reminds me of her collaboration with Vladimir Teriokhin in the Vogue Knitting Holiday 2007 issue – classic and timeless pieces too.

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  6. Stella Tennant is EVERYTHING. I still use her June 2016 editorial for British Vogue as inspiration for my hair style to my hairdresser. The entire thing is sublime and my hair has been looking amazing ever since.

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