London Designers Embrace Arts and Crafts on the Runway

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Dressing like an art teacher is so two seasons ago. For Spring 2019, it’s all about wearable arts and crafts—think crochet details, macramé layers, and even wooden beads. The trend first popped up in New York on the runways of Oscar de la Renta, Maryam Nassir Zadeh, and Michael Kors, but the London runways for Spring/Summer 2019 were ripe with these artsy touches and embellishments as well.

It comes as little surprise that Jonathan Anderson championed the look, as he established the Loewe Craft Prize in 2016. But this season at his namesake JW Anderson label, there were swinging cords of macramé dripping off of long sleeves, woven into the knees of pants and waists, and even crochet decorating handbags. The whole vibe of the show was easy and fluid, almost erring on hippie-chic territory, so these crochet details only added to the overall finished product.

Those dangling macramé cables carried on at Ports 1961 and showed just how versatile this material can be. Designer Natasa Cagalj placed a macramé layer under a long plaid jacket, which added an unexpectedly complex texture. Even the leather handbags in the collection were given an arts and crafts touch, with the addition of XL beads that harkened back to elementary school art class.

Designers didn’t all go full-on with their crochet. There was a just-blink-and-you’ll-miss-it example of this at Riccardo Tisci’s Burberry debut. In between the many PVC ponchos and deconstructed suits was a lace-trimmed tank top featuring two of the most delicate crochet panels.

Even at Erdem, among the voluminous but dark floral dresses with pumped up sleeves, were little black handbags with a sparkle that caught your eye. Each little pouch from Erdem Moralioglu was decorated with tiny black crochet appliqués and a swinging fringe of beads.

Meanwhile, Mary Katrantzou took crochet to a whole new depth for her 10th anniversary collection, which focused on the theme of collecting—and included a lot of patterns. She modernized the decades-old technique of crochet, weaving together leather panels with seams of lace on flared pants and even on a halter top. On top of that, Katrantzou layered plastic tiles chained together that mimicked the effect of the crocheted panels.

Another brand celebrating a decade in business, Victoria Beckham, wove this crafty detail into her range, almost as an afterthought. There was one singular wide-knit dress, that slunk down the runway over a slim pair of pants. Otherwise, crochet was a layering piece, peeking out under a cream-colored tunic or decorating an otherwise plain t-shirt.

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