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We knitters think that our craft transcends mere trends, and we are right, of course. Sometimes we forget how important knitwear is to high fashion, what a canvas it is for a designer’s imagination. Luckily, we have well-informed friends like Amanda Carr to give us a peek into the latest from London Fashion Week. Amanda gets into some amazing events, and has a sharp eye for the details of what she finds there. We are thrilled to welcome her to our pages today, with, of all things, a letter! To us!

–Kay and Ann

Greetings from London, Kay and Ann, where we fashion trend forecasters recently finished trawling London Fashion Week for inspiration. And guess what? Hand knits took centre stage at the best event of the week, Burberry’s Makers House. I couldn’t wait to tell you!

For those not following fashion’s every footstep, Burberry are the hottest brand in London, not just because the clothes are lovely and creative director Christopher Bailey looks like the kind of nice chap you’d want as your best boy-mate, but because it embraces creativity and craftsmanship in everything it does.

And there’s always good cake at its events.

This season, Burberry presented a week-long, catwalk-cum-art-gallery pop-up at Makers House, its London event space, featuring the beautiful, knitwear-heavy, spring collections alongside giant sculptures from artist Henry Moore, whose work inspired the clothes. Everyone was talking about it.

Image: Rosella Degori/

The setting was inspiring (think industrial chic meets the Cotswolds via New York’s Chelsea gallery style) but my eye was drawn to the amazingly detailed and staggeringly gorgeous array of 78 couture capes, many of which were hand knitted. I am not even going to bother you with the prices of these one off, atelier made items, you would only laugh, but I’m putting my forecaster hat on here and saying, “capes – hand knitted – are going to be a thing.”


I thought you two might like to get up close and personal with some of the designs. I am no knitter, as you both know, but my fingers began to twitch at the sight of these sculptural shapes created from yarn. How quickly can you learn exactly? And capes! No sleeves, no seams, smallish, how hard can it be?

Henry Moore’s sensual, sculptural forms were the inspiration behind the collection, and many of his massive, curvaceous works were positioned alongside the clothes, to connect the two visually. His sense of abstract proportion, from his reclining figures to his use of holes in forms to connect one side to another was artfully demonstrated and made the knitwear, in particular, look amazing.

But what I loved was the cabinet of collected ‘things’ that Moore used to inspire him – stones picked up from the beach, shapely bits of coral, decayed wood, the odd animal scull and so on, stuff we all have on our desks to remind us/inspire us/help us dream. It made you feel like you were halfway to being a creative because you too had a similar pile of weird stones and broken mussel shells sitting beside your computer. (It’s not just me, is it?)

But back to the knits, just look at the way that oversized yarn (I think it’s cotton) makes the hooded cape look so cool. And I can only imagine the size of needle one uses to make those giant stitches. But, here’s what I’m thinking, there aren’t that many stitches, right? Although they do look darn complicated.


The pompom cape was joyous, so uplifting in its oversized balls of creamy fluffiness. I can make a pom-pom; Kay once showed me how. There were capes with tassels, fringing, ruffles and one with tiny crocheted flowers in metallic-speckled yarn. Knitters, I think you would have swooned at the selection and approved of the elevation of the craft to fine art. Each cape was lit and presented like a gallery piece, and touching was strictly forbidden (yes I was told off, maybe more than once), a mean restriction because all you wanted to do was stroke and smooth and connect with these deliciously tactile clothes.

But capes, I can hear you say, how the heck do you wear a cape in today’s busy world? It’s true that capes have a bad rep for being ‘a struggle’, but Christopher, crucially, has designed short capes, which are so much easier to handle. I am not sure quite how this look will go down in Nashville, Ann.  I reckon you could play a guitar wearing a short cape, although admittedly maybe not the pom-pom one. And remember, as Miranda Priestly more or less said in The Devil Wears Prada, what you dismiss one minute as a crazy idea on a catwalk turns up faster than you can blink in wearable charcoal at Eileen Fisher.

Alongside the capes was the ready-to-wear collection for Spring/Summer 2017.  I can’t afford this range either, but let’s leave that aside and look at the way these machine knits were influenced by Henry Moore’s processes.

The asymmetric, cut and sew-back-somewhere-unexpected look is going to influence every knitwear designer in fashion. At the moment I’m just trying to get my head around it. I’m working hard not to use the word ‘wonky’, but I’m sure your readers, with their huge knowledge and experience, will look at this and invent a pattern while thinking about what to eat for supper.

The look is hot for menswear too. Sideways knitting, anyone?

The styling on the catwalk of mannequins was glamorous and elegant and, somewhat impractically, very antique-white, definitely more suited to a world where subways, rain and fiddling about with children’s lunch boxes didn’t feature highly.

But ignoring this, layering knits and capes over white broderie anglaise-trimmed, oversized shirts is do-able, and pretty. Obviously in real life you’d pare the look back, but you can get an idea from these shots. I am a big lover of lace, but it’s going to take a while to get my head around wearing a lace dress over a white shirt topped with a cape. But hey! We’ve learned ‘Never say never’ in fashion.

So there we have it. In London, knitwear is Hot Right Now. Handknits have never looked more gorgeous, and oversized everything is the key styling tip to take away.

Until next time!

With love from London,



More at Burberry Makers House.
Thanks to Anne Bernecker for images 02 and o4. more of anne’s work can be found on her style blog.

About The Author

Amanda Carr is a freelance trend forecaster for WGSN, co-author of the daily style blog The Women’s Room, and proprietor of We Wear Perfume, where one can find all the scents that are fit to sniff.


  • Stunning. Thank you for the close-ups!

  • Ooh! Cables!

  • Ooh ooh ooh.

  • Some sumptious capes and a great description of it all, thankyou.
    And now I’m feeling slightly chuffed with myself as a couple of months ago I knitted up the last of some ruffled novelty yarn into a cape for the family’s sixty year old large doll! Maybe now I will enter it as a project on Rav….

    • Please post it!!!

    • Please do enter it on Rav. We all want to see it.

  • Thanks alot. I pinned many of these for future reference.

  • Well, maybe knitting will get the respect it deserves now!

  • Thank you for sharing the best swoon post ever. I’m always looking for advocates of promoting craft to fine art.

  • Jaw dropping. Henry Moore and cables! Let’s hear it for imagination and creativity. There is fun and beauty out there and thank you for bringing in home.

    • Couldn’t agree more (unintended pun) thanks for saying what I wanted to say. I wish I’d been there.

  • It’s great to see that what I thought were some bizarre knitting mistakes I’ve made are actually asymmetric high fashion! To funny!

    • It’s very liberating! A mis-twisted cable is not only ok, it’s required.

      • Oh, I don’t even bother about mistwisted cables. I’m already quite liberated in that way. And of course if any of us did make something like these things and wore them, people would think w we’d a.) been in a transporter accident or b.) Didn’t know how to read a pattern. Not to mention if those things with ask the massive cables are made of cotton, they must weigh 50 pounds.

        • Been chuckling over this all day.

  • Beautiful! I want to touch all of them!

  • I knitted a cape about six months ago and wear it CONSTANTLY.
    Take THAT cold office!

    It’s so perfectly simple and cushy. And it scrunches so stylishly! (To make the cape even more boring, er, simple, I wear mine stockinette side out. Added an edging to make the bottom lie flattish. Edging choice was inspired by Ann’s ode to the garter rib! )

  • I was merely interested as I read the letter and scrolled through the pictures, then I was INTERESTED as the sideways, slanted bands of cables, cuff in the middle of the sleeve men’s sweater hove into view. Yowza. And I am totally not a lace person but am strangely attracted to the broderie anglaise over a white button down shirt. Hmm, food for thought.

    I am amused and impressed by Amanda’s statement that “your readers, with their huge knowledge and experience, will look at this and invent a pattern while thinking about what to eat for supper.” She knows knitters. Thanks! It’s been too long since I was in London.

  • After getting a gander of that bias-knitted men’s aran, I’m feeling soooo much better about having fallen in love with and hunted down the New Zealand pattern for the prosaically named Crucci 1454! Off to rededicate myself to the swatching.

    • How cool is that!

  • Wow wow wow. And the RTW collection has even more capes, some knit some woven. Even the booties are knitted. You’ve no idea how much I needed to see this today – thank you !!

  • Coincidentally, just yesterday I was browsing through a bunch of Vogue Knitting issues from the ’90s and 2000s and noticed LOTS of asymmetric and deconstructed-cable designs, from Tom Scott and Oscar de la Renta as well as Mari Lynn Patrick and other virtuoso handknit designers. Ahead of the curve, indeed.

    • Curves do eventually tend to circle back to where they started …

  • Love the way Amanda Carr writes, so breezy and yet so sharp. We’re all spoiled by the offhand wit and the overall quality of the writing on MDK – thanks for recruiting such talented & charming contributors, and for being the kind of blog hosts that they want to work with.

    • Amanda is a really good writer – witty and smart. Do take a look at the blog she co-writes, though London centric, she posts some thought provoking content.

  • Lots of cables as well as textures. I would call some if those pieces vests. They are really beautiful and I would also want to touch then to see how that ruffle was attached and how that bias knit was done.

  • I just love the extra cuff around the elbow – I know the feeling of sleeves being to short, and that would be a great way to remedy the situation! Also – the broderie anglaise is so dreamy – I wish we could knit it!

  • The pompom cape makes me smile. And the hooded cape in the third photo can’t possibly be knit from oversize yarn — that’s rope! I love the ties for the hood with the sailor’s knots at each end. Thank you for this peek into London fashion.

  • Oddly, last night I was thinking of knitting a cape. Great post!

  • Wow these are fabulous, , can’t pick a favourite although I do like the hooded one with cuffs, beautiful.
    This is one type of sculpture I might have a chance of recreating

  • Ooooooh lovely! I love seeing knits in the forefront of fashion. Let’s see….what do I have now that I can start a project with??

  • Obviously representing the minority opinion here, because it all looks like an unwearable waste of yarn to me.

  • Great article and I love your Blog too! The “Cotton” cape/sweater looks like clothesline from my hardware store. I really like the “knit, cut apart, reattach” ideas!!
    Lots of inspiration here too.

  • I shall NEVER TIRE of this sort of thing. Thank you, Amanda!

  • I am so glad you are focusing on the Burberry runway collection of sweaters. I saw the slideshow of his London fashion week show and thougth how imaginative. Now, can some one convince Burberry to offer hand knit patterns of some of those items?????

  • Gorgeous hand-knits! Thanks for sharing!! <3

  • Stunning. Bring on the capes!

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