Autumn Winter 2019/2020

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A city can be compared to a biological entity, a living, breathing organism in a constant state of evolution and change. Knitwear designer Laura Theiss moved from this concept and from the way architectural spaces are conceived for her A/W 2019 collection.

Theiss literally built some of her new designs as if she were an architect drawing a building or an urban developer planning a city – slowly, stitch by stitch, piece by piece.

Quite a few of the geometrical motifs incorporated in her designs have an architectural derivation: zigzags evoke Art Deco patterns decorating the facades of buildings; squares call to mind the rows of windows in minimalist skyscrapers. Grid and trellis-like textures allude to aerial views of cities with braids twisting and turning, evoking networks of roads, rails and walkways in urban metropolises that connect millions of people everyday.

Theiss’s new dresses and knitted and crocheted separates can be interpreted as modular geographies for the body: a burgundy dress was made joining together 400 small knitted squares with delicate yet solid metal thread to form a multi-dimensional effect; dense cross-strata formations characterise jumpers and tops, whilst traditional cable knits are reinterpreted, recreating Santiago Calatrava’s studies revolving around tension and suspension in their patterns.

The palette for the A/W 19 collection focuses on soft shades such as pale pink, gray and off-white, juxtaposed with stronger autumnal nuances including burgundy, ochre and black, interspersed with metallic yarns for a futuristically glamorous touch.

Theiss also tackled the theme of duplicity and duality in the collection: after researching the dichotomy between tailored masculine moods and soft feminine knits and couture cardigans, she came up with a unique design, a conceptual but functional half jacket/half sweater designed to empower women.

The cryptic title of the collection – “P43 Trikotage” – is a reference to the address of a “trikotagen” (knitwear) factory in Germany (I would mention the name of the city). The factory disappeared from the cityscape after it closed down, but in its heyday it was ranked among the most beautiful southwestern German industrial buildings. Women were allowed to work in the factory from the 20’s onward and, by referencing the factory in this collection, Theiss pays homage to all deleted the women employed in the knitting industry.

Laura Theiss’s “P43” is an exploration of body architectures; an interdisciplinary study of fashion, architecture and femininity by a designer with a passion for traditional crafts and modern state-of-the-art techniques, with the heart of a dreamer.

Written by Anna Battista