The Mennonites meet “Barbarella” — you read correctly — in Catherine Litke’s new collection, Litke, launching for fall. Thankfully, the designer blends elements of both points of reference without being literal to either, using quilting and patchwork techniques to create strong, geometric patterns on structured, minimalist silhouettes. The result is craftsy with a modern edge. Tunics, skirts and dresses are produced in New York and made entirely from Swiss and Japanese cottons with touches of Indian silks.
This story first appeared in the June 4, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Litke grew up in New York but spent summers in Poland, where her family is from. It was there that she developed an eye for local festival costumes that share a common thread with traditional Mennonite garb and quilts, which Litke began collecting from markets in upstate New York and Pennsylvania. “I had never seen crafts like that made by hand outside of Poland,” she said. “The actual crafting resonated with me, so that’s where I started, but I was also looking at ‘Barbarella’ and retro features in movies. I wanted to do the [craft] patterns in a new way.”
Prior to launching her collection out of her Brooklyn apartment, Litke studied studio art at New York University, graduating in 2010. She assisted stylists Katie Mossman and Tina Chai, who encouraged Litke to go out on her own. The new line, which wholesales from $200 for a shirt to $850 for a dress, has been picked up by Oak for fall.