Knitwear: It’s a category and way of dressing that long predates the pandemic, although the category has widely expanded and evolved due to the work-from-home lifestyle.
“Knitwear is dynamic. It can be feminine and sensual — or classic and timeless,” designer Gilles Mendel said during his Saks Fifth Avenue Le Chalet set J. Mendel Knitwear presentation debut. Elsewhere, knitwear designers proposed optimism through color, handcraft through techniques new and old and modern alternatives of cozy head-to-toe layers. Here, WWD spotlights special moments in the ever-growing category across New York Fashion Week.
The return to glamour and dressing up was ubiquitous across the New York spring runways. Mendel proposed knits as rich as his evening offerings within his new line of J. Mendel Knitwear, blending sophistication from day-to-night across knubby hand-knit outerwear, shawls with palazzo pants, daydresses and bodysuits in eco-friendly Italian fabrications (the line was noted to be 70 percent sustainable).
“This is definitely my fantasy side,” said Conley Averett, who staged his Judy Turner presentation at Michael’s in Midtown. Averett is the knitwear designer for Khaite, but his own designs have more of a tribal, punk craft sensibility. Highlights included mesh dresses and skirts, an irregular checkerboard pattern shrunken cardigan and red floral crochet flower scarf worn like a corsage.
The Pursuit of Color
Knitwear specialist Henry Zankov has been carving a niche space in the category with his emerging namesake label. For fall, the designer offers graphic, visual optimism through men’s, women’s and genderless styles knit on the bias; the designer also explored new categories of tailoring, leisure and outerwear.
The Elder Statesman ethos is one rooted in excellent handcraft. The fall collection recalls fisherman nets in organic cotton and cashmere, as well as patchworking and hand-looming techniques throughout ready-to-wear and home goods, with select artwork by Jamaican-British collage artist and painter, Kione Grandison.
PH5’s signature, sculptural wavy-hemmed silhouettes got a cable-knit update for fall. Both color and fabric blocking came into play, offering youthful sensibility alongside the brand’s amped-up assortment of highly-technical and textural knits in playful shapes.