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 [who know see Update below] — 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.

[UPDATE 11.22.17: I am now in possession of both the US and UK Vogue issues from that month, and neither of them includes any of these images, although the US one does have a Stella Tennant-in-the-woods feature in which she wears another lovely, simple turtleneck sweater like this. So I’ve inadvertently contributed to misinformation about these photos! If anyone knows when or where they actually did run — if they are even all from the same editorial — please let me know!]

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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First of the Best of Spring 2018

First of the Best of Spring 2018

The big-4 Fashion Weeks are currently underway (NY, London, Milan, Paris) and I haven’t seen any of it yet! But Stockholm went first, and I’m crazy about this collection by new-to-me label Totême.  The Spring collections are often my favorite because I find them inspiring for the early fall moment that’s upon us and also interesting for seeing where fashion is headed six months out — how spring builds on the seasons before it. But this particular collection — especially the look up top — actually makes me a little bit nostalgic for my Paris suitcase, and extra excited to wear some of those outfits that either didn’t get worn or have only been worn that week. I believe the pants in the first two photos (looks 15 and 4) are rib knit, and I want them; they look amazing with both of these tops. The red blouse sent me running back to Folkwear’s smock patterns, and I want this exact same scarf in knitted shawl form. (Although my striped sweater serves that purpose beautifully.) The stylized cable sweater (look 7) stays just on the right side of being stylized but not overly gimmicky or trendy, and the entire look below (5) makes my heart race. Overall, amazing silhouettes and so much food for fall wardrobe thought right now.

First of the Best of Spring 2018

PREVIOUSLY: The best of Fall 2017

The rest of the Best of Fall 2017: Scarf season

The rest of the Best of Fall 2017: Scarf season

Random observations on the Fall 2017 collections: It’s a very strong army-green season, which happens every few years and always feels like home to me. (It’s always army-green season in my world.) There’s a tremendous amount of denim in the shows — deconstructed/reconstructed pieces of all kinds everywhere. Celine says it’s safe to take your blankie with you. This might be the best twinset ever. Conversely, the one-armed sweater is back. But what I really want to talk about are all the scarves (and matching scarves and sweaters) and the button-up ruanas — scarves-as-garments — which I’m compelled to called scarfigans: Exhibit A, the army version, at Apiece Apart (above). Exhibit B at M.Patmos. And a non-knitted, big-pocketed variation, Exhibit C also at M.Patmos. Among others. The best of the best of the scarves is the one below, from endless-summer label Lemlem — a show full of appealing mash-ups of fluttery tops and sweatpants, the best of both worlds. But it’s the garter-ombré-stripe effect of the scarf, seen also on a hoodie, that I can’t get out of my head. I did something slightly similar with a scrappy cowl when I was very first knitting and I’m now re-pondering all that for my long-planned leftovers sweater.

(Speaking of army green: The army Porter Bin will officially be back on July 28th!)

The rest of the Best of Fall 2017: Scarf season

PREVIOUSLY: First of the Best of Fall 2017: Simple shapes and sweaters

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First of the Best of Fall 2017: Simple shapes and sweaters

First of the Best of Fall 2017: Simple shapes and sweaters

I started to type I’ve begun to think about Fall, but honestly, when am I not thinking about Fall? What I mean is I’ve begun to think in earnest about shapes — especially what shape I want my fisherman to be, and how I want to wear it in the near term. So naturally, I took a stroll through the Fall 2017 shows, which I hadn’t had a chance to do yet, and I am in love with the Elizabeth & James collection — so many lovely intersections of proportion and knitwear to be lingered over. Like the simple red mock-neck with slightly exaggerated skirt, the incredible cardigan-coat in grey and charcoal, and the chic little waffle sweater — the coolest long johns top ever — with narrow black pants. To name just a few.

First of the Best of Fall 2017: Simple shapes and sweaters

PREVIOUSLY: Pre-Fall 2017

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Knit the Look: Marthe Wiggers’ vintage-chic pullover

Knit the Look: Marthe Wiggers' vintage-chic pullover

I love how simultaneously retro and au courant Dutch model Marthe Wiggers looks in this slinky, ribbed, black mock-neck sweater and motorcycle jacket. Such simplicity with that sweater, and as usual what makes it noteworthy are the tiny little details — the proportion of the peaks and valleys of that ribbing, and the shift in scale from the sweater to the neck. Which is easy enough to emulate. Vintage patterns would be the best bet on this one, but there are some available options to work from. There’s a reasonably similar Rowan pattern from a few years ago, Fiori (just add ribbing) but it’s worsted weight, whereas Marthe’s sweater seems to be a fine-gauge machine knit. So I’m going to recommend Pierrot’s characteristically rudimentary, English-translated Japanese pattern called 22-23-20 Ribbed Turtleneck Sweater (free pattern), which is written for fingering weight. (As with pretty much all Japanese patterns, it’s one size, so add to the stitch count as/where necessary to adjust the width.) To make it look more like Marthe’s, try the rib in 2×1 or even 3×1, switching to 1×1 on smaller needles for the collar. And instead of knitting the neck to full turtleneck length, stop at about 3”. Yarn-wise, for that gorgeous heathered black I’m a big fan of Quince and Co’s Sabine colorway, which is available in fingering-weight Finch.

For more photos and Marthe’s full outfit, see Vanessa’s original blog post. And for guidance on how to read a Japanese knitting pattern, click here.

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PREVIOUSLY in Knit the Look: Camille Charriere’s stripes

Street style photo © Vanessa Jackman; used with permission

Knit the Look: Camille Charriere’s stripes

Knit the Look: Camille Charriere's striped sweater

Here’s a styling option I hadn’t considered for my striped pullover: shiny pants! Never happen, but I admire how striking Camille Charriere looks in these photos — showing the world that black-and-white does not equal boring. And I do look forward to wearing mine slung over my shoulders like this — one styling holdover from my teen years that I’ve never not loved in the interim. All you really need to approximate this sweater is my notes on my striped sweater, but the other option would be to pick your favorite basic pullover pattern and simply knit it in alternating stripes. Camille’s sweater looks to be more like 1.5″ or 2″ stripes (as opposed to my 2.5″ awning stripes) and more of a truer, flatter black and white than mine. So for yarn, you might consider Brooklyn Tweed’s new Arbor in Kettle and Thaw. I’m told Thaw is technically a really pale icy grey (I haven’t seen it in person) but it would read more white against the black than an undyed (ivory) yarn would. Not a lot of yarns include both black and white in the palette, so feel free to pipe up below with other ideas! As far as the other sweater details, it looks like the waist ribbing spans the last two stripes, and the ribbed cuffs might actually be grey? They seem darker than the white stripes, and I like the idea of that, either way.

For Vanessa’s suggestions on the rest of Camille’s look, see her original blog post.

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PREVIOUSLY in Knit the Look: Perfect grey turtleneck

Best of the Best of Pre-Fall 2017: Joseph

Best of the Best of Pre-Fall 2017: Joseph

It’s good that the Fall 2017 collections will be starting in about 10 minutes, because I’m fairly underwhelmed by the Pre-Fall ones. Not surprisingly though, Joseph is once again at the top of my list of exquisite knits (alongside incredible woven pieces with all the giant patch pockets I love). Just look at those incredible long layers up top, the exaggerated turtleneck and impeccable cardigan in the middle, and then the long rib-knit tunic and pants paired with that exceptional pink coat. Nevermind how unwearable those pants are, I want it all. But especially that army sweater-coat.

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