Throughout her previous collections, knitwear designer and crochet artist Laura Theiss explored parallel and futuristic universes. In her Capsule Collection designed for Loreto Di Rienzo's Dyloan Studio and developed with the Bond Factory, a company specialised in new technologies such as thermowelding, melting for construction, ultrasound melting, taping, press bonding and laser cutting, Theiss has taken things further, trying to forecast the future of traditional crocheting and knitting techniques.
Inspired by early films about space travel à la Fritz Lang's Woman in the Moon, strong women like astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, and fictional anti-heroines such as Ava, the enigmatic cyborg in Alex Garland's Ex Machina, Theiss designed intricate motifs, crocheted fractals, and kaleidoscopic patterns.
See-through motifs, cut-outs and metallic second skin-like mesh fractals were directly inspired by Ava's partially transparent body.
Yet Theiss also kept firmly in mind the cyborg's behaviour: just like Ava manipulates the main characters in the film, Theiss digitally hacked some of her crocheted elements to create innovative shapes.
The result is suprising with dresses, skirts, jumpers and coats featuring highly experimental techniques: crocheted patterns are seamlessly bonded with organza; a 3D crochet motif is printed on a jumper and coated with foil; cashmere knits are combined with fine leather characterised by an embossed crochet pattern that looks like an alien virus.
As Theiss pushes the boundaries of crocheting and knitting, taking them to another dimension to tangibly prove that traditions can lead to endless possibilities, she reminds us that this Capsule Collection is not just about technique.
All the designs are indeed created with the aim of empowering women and inspiring them not just to look at the future, but at the possibility of visioning, hacking and crafting it.
How did this collaboration come together?
Loreto Di Rienzo: Every season we work with different designers for our "Moda Futuribile" project focused on developing innovative projects with professionals from various branches and sections of the fashion industry. The theme of this season was "Tech and Craft" and Laura perfectly fitted this theme. The project also involved two other designers, Alan Maughan and Maria Schmiedt, and was showcased at the beginning of July during Pitti Filati 77, the Florence-based yarn fair.
What prompted you to transfer your skills to other techniques/materials?
Laura Theiss: In my collections I always try and push the boundaries of traditional crafts and create something innovative and unusual, like a new pattern, or come up with designs made with experimental yarns and techniques. When Dyloan Studio contacted me about this collaboration project, I immediately understood that, combining together their know-how and my skills in traditional crafts, we could have created a great collection.
Can you take us through the different stages of this collaboration?
Laura Theiss: First I visited Dyloan Studio in Milan and saw amazing sketches at their showroom. We went through my first design sketches and talked through the possible techniques and yarns we could have opted for. Then I went back home and constantly kept in touch with them, improving designs, taking new decisions and altering things during the process. When the production stage arrived, I moved back to Italy where work started at the Bond Factory. I was really impressed by several innovative processes I saw there, in particular by the seamless technologies. It's absolutely great to see how nowadays you can bond a fabric or even a zipper with no seams. The construction of such garments looks particularly amazing from the inside. Another technique that impressed me a lot was the way they produced bonded fabrics with three dimensional and embossed prints.
Which techniques did you employ for Laura Theiss' Capsule Collection?
Loreto Di Rienzo: Thermowelding, press bonding, 3D printing, embossing and embroidering. The key to the project, though, was combining these processes together with traditional hand-knitted techniques - this allowed us to reach completely unexpected results.
How many designs did you create with Dyloan and the Bond Factory?
Laura Theiss: I created a capsule collection of five looks that included sweaters, dresses, skirts, and a coat. We worked a way to combine seamless knitwear and crochet with fabric and embossing three-dimensional details on knitwear as well. We developed some truly unique pieces: a grey/green wool sweater with 3D printed and metallic foil print, and seamless bonded sleeves matched with a blue hand knitted mohair/silk skirt with 3D printing and seamless bonded waistline; a grey wool dress with three-dimensional geometric embroidery; a crochet top coated with metallic foil and bonded with knitwear, with bonded organza sleeves matched with a grey wool printed skirt; a crochet top bonded to a knitted dress and a knitted cashmere coat bonded with embossed leather. The patterns for the embroidered, embossed and printed details were borrowed from my own archives and traditional motifs, but all the pieces were made with Dyloan and manufactured at the Bond Factory.
Did you find this collaboration challenging?
Loreto Di Rienzo: Nothing is ever easy when you're experimenting with something completely new, but Laura has a great approach to things and her modus operandi and curiosity for these new technologies allowed us to obtain excellent results.
What kind of feedback did you get from the Pitti visitors?
Laura Theiss: It is always very interesting to talk to visitors during any kind of fairs and events, as their reaction often helps you finding new solutions and ideas for future projects. Pitti Filati visitors are professional members of the yarn and knitwear industries and everyone was very inspiring. They liked the pieces and they were interested in discovering more about the new possibilities that these techniques offered us. Both the Bond Factory and I found new international contacts and clients, so it was a very successful project that will hopefully continue with a bigger collection for the Autumn/Winter 2016-17 season.
Member of the Boxxet Network of Blogs, Videos and Photos
Member of the Boxxet Network of Blogs, Videos and Photos