Fall fashion: Knit wits
Fashion's sweater set kicks it up a notch this fall.
STYLE & ERROR One woman tests the trends of the day.
Trend Hunky, chunky knits.
Why? Because Prada, D&G, Paul Smith, Rag & Bone and Jason Wu are all doing it.
Trendology Knits have been on-trend ever since someone figured out how to loop a piece of wool onto a pair of sticks and end up with a sock. Seriously, though, while civilized cashmere has had its moments, the knits this season are of the heavy-duty super-texturized homespun variety, which has its roots in ’80s grunge.
Glaciers may be melting and flooding the valleys, but, climate warming be damned, the fashion forecast is brrrrrrrr!!! Which is why designers have loaded us up with big, bulky knits.
Take the Prada mouliné-wool cable-knit sweater. Your natural inclination would be to throw it on over a pair of jeans, put on some rubber boots and muck out a stable or two, right? Nobody needs my instruction on how to do the horse-and-hounds look, but let’s face it: Do you really want to spend $1,170 on a sweater to walk the dog in? Not really. So I copied the Prada stylist and paired the sweater with the matching knit skirt and ribbed stockings and improvised with Louis Vuitton pumps. With my shoulder-length hair down and sans the recommended belt, I looked…husky. Messy. “You look like a bear,” said my youngest. But I also felt, oddly, like a Susan Sontag wannabe, dressed to deliver a class on the Sufi implications of Henri Bergson’s thought. When I put my hair up in a ponytail and added black-framed Annie Leibovitz-style glasses, thigh-high skinny Burberry boots and a sensible Tila March handbag,I felt I had struck an autumnal Central Park chord, which has its own mitigated sexiness. “You’re going to be boiling,” commented my friend Jack, who had dropped in to give my daughter a guitar lesson.
Flush with admittedly limited success, I went on to explore some Paul Smith crocheted items. Now this was going to be a challenge. How does one wear an afghan dress without appearing like an ambulating bedspread? Jack looked skeptical as he tuned. “Are you sure that’s for wearing, or is it for throwing over a sofa?” he asked. I went into the next room and put it on. The afghan slid off one shoulder—a style I particularly detest. It looked worse than a bedspread—more like a tea cozy. I decided to counter the granny effect with motorcycle boots. The result was decidedly bipolar. When I wore this to my friend Yana’s art opening, she complained that the outfit was loud. “You’re taking attention away from the paintings,” she said. She also thought the boots didn’t work. So I went back home and tried the Burberrys, which turned the look into a perverse rendition of Pretty Woman. Maybe it’s just a throw blanket with sleeves, I decided, swapping boots for bedroom slippers and accessorizing with the TV remote control. It turned out to be a pretty good couch-potato dress. And it tied the room together perfectly.
Want to know the verdict? Check out the next page…
7/10 for the Prada outfit. 2/10 for the Paul Smith dress.
Canadian knitwear designer Mark Fast
Toronto-based Line Knitwear collection Fall 2010-2011
Fall fashion: Must-haves and trends