Perhaps nothing has done more damage to crochet’s reputation than Coachella. For about a decade, the age-old technique felt like something to be avoided, even derided, thanks to an annual festival season of bohemian outfits gone bad. But trends are cyclical, cancel culture is toxic, and a new line of designers have lent a high-fashion element to the drum (as the French call it), hiring artisans from around the world who bring a level of craftsmanship. which almost never made its way to the main stage crowd – until now, maybe. There is always room for change.
Today’s focus on craftsmanship goes deeper emotionally than just a cycle of fashion trends. Before the pandemic, I attended a presentation by a forecaster who indicated a move towards futurism on the runway – fabrics that are made in a lab and look like it. Dresses that transform women into robotic versions of themselves, sculptural and interesting but barely recognizable. This forecaster could never have seen what was coming. But the last two years have resulted in (among other things) a deep collective desire for a return to nature and to the handmade due to an excess of technology and a general lack of human connection.
“I think everyone is looking for pieces that they relate to emotionally, things that look like more than just a product,” says Joseph Altuzarra, whose fall collection featured a crochet dress so intricate that you could easily display it as wall art. . “I personally respond to pieces that feel like one-of-a-kind finds, handcrafted pieces.”
Rachel Scott, the designer of trendy label Diotima, known for her intricate crochet pieces, says she feels a spiritual and generational connection to the technique. “In Jamaica, crocheting is a craft that is passed down…from grandmothers, mothers to their daughters, so it’s something you see everywhere: doilies and table runners in homes, but also bathing suits and blankets. In the Rasta community, in particular, there is a particular reverence for crocheted hats and belts, sometimes clothes and shoes.”
At its best, the crochet trend honors a long history. The craft originated in Chinese tailoring before being introduced and reinterpreted in places like North Africa, Turkey, India and beyond. “Working in the vernacular of made in Jamaica crochet, I often start with starched crochet that you typically see in the context of homewares. …I have found that in this starch process, the hand and the drape of the yarn changed completely. The pieces are delicate yet sculptural,” Scott explains. “I started using them to make harness-like tops, disrupting the context of how these pieces would usually be seen.”
Likewise, Altuzarra merges Old World approaches with its own design flourishes. “We work with a lot of crochet artisans for the different techniques we are developing for the collection. This season, specifically, we have worked with crocheters in India, Italy and the United States. Each artisan has a hand well specific, which can be felt in what they create”, explains the designer.
Crochet was also found in Chloé’s collections, helmed by Gabriela Hearst, as well as the designer’s eponymous collection, where it appeared on an elegant springtime leather trench coat that sold out online in the blink of an eye. . Last summer’s bestselling Prada bag continues to reign supreme on social media and beyond. In Anthony Vaccarello’s pre-fall range for Saint Laurent, there’s a cut-out black crochet dress that might as well be taken to the club as a seaside dinner, but it’s far from your standard bohemian. Onlookers at Loewe’s fall runway wore the brand’s intricate crochet pieces available to buy now. This crochet moment includes restraint in color, with an emphasis on black, white and neutrals, body awareness and a unique approach to form.
But don’t take everything too seriously; you can also wear one of these looks to the nearest beach or, ahem, even Coachella. Pick up one of the crochet pieces below, schedule some time in nature, and add your favorite sandals.
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