This is an old interview (from 2013) of Women’s Wear Daily’s Berlin Correspondant Melissa Drier on Deutsche Welle. Although what she is wearing in the screen-shot is made in Germany, Drier is a New Yorker. She talks about moving to Berlin in the 1980s, experiencing the Fall of the Wall, The East-West rivalry, and the fashion scene in the German capital and the promising environment giving rise to up and coming designers.
She also talks about Berlin Fashion Week, and the Bread and Butter trade show. Not much has changed since then (the most notable thing is that Mercedes is no longer the major sponsor), and there is a growing niche in sustainable fashion, as an offshoot of the Green Week trade show.
Germany still hasn’t become a fashion capital in the five years since this interview, but it’s still an interesting place to be fashion-wise…
These days there are also wedding veils, wedding shawls, capes, capelets, boleros and shrugs, wristlets and the list goes on. (To illustrate, I’ve chosen clockwise from top left: Nicole Markley’s I Thee Wed fingerless gloves, Carol Feller’s Summer Affair, Louise Fitzpatrick’s Summer Rose capelet and Alison Reilly’s Wedding Canopy Chuppah) Often done in fingering or laceweight yarns, these pieces can and do become hierlooms for the families lucky enough to have such a dedicated crafter in their midst.
Technically, anyone can knit a wedding item: ‘all’ that is required is time, patience, ability to follow a pattern and willingness to frog to correct any errors. Would you knit for your or a loved one’s wedding? Or have you?
I hope you enjoy the royal wedding. I know I will. I’m inviting friends over for a viewing with champagne and finger sandwiches! And maybe some knitting…
I popped over to Barcelona for a girly Weekend with two girlfriends and it gave me quite an emotional boost in the midwinter. Running on the beachfront Promenade, enjoying the sunshine, having Tapas, Cocktails and laughing just hit the spot.
We booked an audioguide tour to visit the Sagrada Familia Basilica (unless you’re in a travel group that takes care of everything, definitely book online beforehand. Apparently no one just Shows up and expects to get in anywhere anymore). I highly recommend going in the morning/mid-morning, so that you catch the sunlight coming through the Windows.
I was particularly taken with the tree-like columns within the Basilica. It felt like walking through a forest (but of stone), with the light streaming through the various windows in a fairly similar way to how light is filtered down to the forest floor.
I’m not sure yet what the final form will me: cowl, scarf, shawl or shrug, but that’s the start of an idea.
It’s been a while since I finished the MoMA’s online course collaboration with Coursera, “Fashion as Design” which run more or less parallel to their Exhibition “Items: Is Fashion Modern.”
We looked at various items, we looked at production, inspirational heroes, silhouettes, lifecycles, modesty and expression. There were some tricky quizzes at the end of each week, but all in all, I managed to pull myself together to get it done.
I learned some new things about fashion in the late 19th and 20th centuries. But I won’t lie, it got a bit tedious at times, because I was constantly looking at the course material through the eyes of a knitter.
And there is no easy answer to the question, ‘Is fashion modern?’ because people are doing so many different things with the clothes that they put on their/our backs. Recycling, upcycling or even restyling garments of a bygone decade may feel less than modern, but the actual idea that this should be important to us is a fairly new one.
Or that making (and in particular knitting and crochet) is not old-fashioned or quaint, but a growing niche of forward-thinking activism (where supporting shepherds producing wool locally can help with anti-desertification around the world)…
Of note: Coursera blog’s conversation with Curator Paola Antonelli.
I love to give credit where it is due. The designer of Nakia’s Shawl in the Black Panther film has been identified (after a concerted group effort), and has released a FREE pattern on Ravelry. So knitters of Ravelry, well done. And well done Jeff Gillies.
Sheep Sorrel hat
Twisted Stirrup Socks
I’ve had to pause and restart some knitting. Since I last talked about my own knitting, I’ve picked up stitches on my Slow Knitting hat Sheep Sorrel by Pam Allen. I’ve also cast on for my Twisted Stirrup Socks and I visited my first wool festival.
I know, we were talking about Amy Sherald’s Portrait of Michelle Obama, but I also learned that she takes great care in choosing the clothes her subjects wear for their sittings.
Typically, Sherald …pairs her subjects with outfits carefully selected for a similar timeless feel, rendering them in comfortable stances against monochrome backgrounds, cut off at the knee, forthrightly regarding their Viewer.
Doreen St. Felix of the New Yorker breaks down why Amy Sherald’s Portrait of former First Lady Michelle Obama is so haunting.
Milly by Michelle Smith / vogue.com
There’s a funny thing about inspiration: While the Designer, Michelle Smith of Milly mentions to Vogue that her Inspiration was Mondrian, Amy Sherald made the connection to the quilts of the women of Gee’s Bend.
So although Folks are getting all upset because the portrait isn’t photo-realistic, it is clear that Obama and Sherald had a great working relationship, and she loved Sherald’s work. She likes how Sherald portrayed her for perpetuity. This is Art. It makes you stop and take a long hard look. And gets you thinking (why grey?), why this artist, why this dress, filling in the blanks, and what not.
It shook me how much Mrs. Obama looks like her younger daughter. But also how the negative space on the skirt suggests a heart (until it doesn’t). Sherald only paints 10 – 12 portraits a year, seeking out subjects who project a timeless quality. She hit it out of the ballpark.
… because sometimes we want something sporty (ie in our country colours) but not too cheesy. I would definitely knit this up in black, red and Gold. This takes the fuss out of wondering what to knit. All about keeping it simple.
I just watched the Opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeong-Chang at lunchtime, and it was quite lovely: a mix of Tradition and high-tech.
The most moving moments were when the Iranian athlete came in, almost in tears (She almost made me cry too!). And the Nigerian Bobsled ladies and a lone Kenyan Skier*(how cool are they? #BlackGirlMagic). I got a lump in my throat, when I saw the two Koreas entering together as one Team. The German commentators were also moved, because we remember when Germany was two states.
I absolutely love that countries that are not traditionally winter countries, are now participating in the Winter Games. It not only speaks to how Migration has been shaping our lives, but also to the magical effect of Sports (in particular Olympic sports) on countries big and small.
But about the knits:
I may be biased, but I thought the German team had the cutest hats. Red with cable diamonds and a pom pom. (One thing all Germans can agree on, is that there will ALWAYS be someone who doesn’t like the team uniform – I’m just glad they didn’t show up in some dark colours because it is supposed to be a party/ celebration of sports!)
The cutest scarves were worn by the Japanese team. Alternative headwear prize goes to Nigeria (because glitter headwraps). And the chicest outfit goes to Iran. And best non-knit outfit goes to Tonga (I hope he doesn’t catch cold). I’ll try to come back and post photos or screenshots when I can**.
So wherever you are, whomever you’re rooting for, have fun watching and knitting…
By the way, Tanis’ pattern is a free download from her site or Ravelry. I found out too late, that Ravellers are once again knitting, crocheting, ripping and Spinning along with the Games in their Ravellenics. I don’t think I have time for that this year… but it is good fun. This cowl would fit in the ‘Cowl Curling’ Event, and be even be eligible for a Colorwork Laurel Award.
*The Kenyan Skier, Sabrina Simader got a shout out from the German commentators because she grew up in Austria, and often gets a helping Hand from the Austrian and German Teams.