Not since Julien McDonald weaved his way to a full-fledged designing career has the knitwear category been so sexy. Traditional knit labels such as Missoni continue to excite, and a host of lines from Sonia Rykiel and Prada to Leflesh and Sophia Kokosalaki consider it a key brand component. Our sights are set on three fierce Italian labels playing with the rules of knitting. Last fall we reported on Rome-based Giulia Piersanti’s maxi sweaters and scarves decorated with skulls. After following up with two strong collections, Piersanti is putting her stamp on the category. Stints at Donna Karan, Miu Miu, and Martine Sitbon, and as head of womenswear at Costume National, taught Piersanti that her passion for clothes is all in the craftsmanship (all her knits are hand-fashioned). Designing beyond the necessity sweater for fall, Piersanti is partial to royal blue knitted Lurex and viscose spaghetti strap dresses, peppermint and silver (colored) capelets, and handkerchief hemline skirts in chalky pink and silver. All sumptuous and sexy and, as Piersanti says, “the kind of pieces you fall in love with and just have to have.” Giulia Piersanti sells at HP France in Tokyo, Laura Urbinati in Milan, and at Sabine (partially owned by the designer’s equally stylish sister Ilaria) in Los Angeles. Milan-based Maison John from Brit packer Jane Hayward is creating its own waves in the in-the-know circles with her debut collection for fall. Groundbreaking proper-with-a-twist merino wool and viscose Lycra knits are Hayward’s way of flexing her seasoned hand (she has worked for Gianfranco Ferre, Miu Miu, Blumarine, Mandarina Duck and Bottega Veneta) in her own collection. And it takes a pro to effectively create self-described “feminine, a bit bookish, naughty librarian looks” using a bold black and white, apple green, red, and pale pink color palette. Sansavino 6, the 40-year-old knitwear manufacturer, showed its second collection, creative directed by Edward Buchanan, for fall. Concentrating on long-term basics that blur the lines between day and evening wear, the label is charting new territory with items like flowing knitted evening gowns and cable knit leggings for day. Working with a neutral black, brown, and heather gray color palette with an injection of dusty pastel, sky blue, rose, and light army on contrasting textures with graphic stripe details, these knits are a knock out.
Photos: Giula Piersanti fall ’04
Sansavino 6 fall ’04