Men's knitwear designs: wearable works of art?

These knitwear designs for spring ensure we're wearing our art on our sleeve

Yellow roll neck jumper with black face on by Dior
(Image credit: Dougal Macarthur)

There’s long been debate about whether fashion design constitutes art, but for S/S 2021, men's knitwear creations made a convincing creative argument. A host of brands used clothing as a canvas, interpreting the gestural strokes of figurative portraiture and the globulous bulges of ceramic forms within their folds.

At Dior, Kim Jones was compelled by the emotive and bold brushstrokes of Ghanaian portraitist Amoako Boafo, who had his first solo exhibition at Mariane Ibrahim Gallery in Chicago last autumn. In a tactile and tonal twist, a figure inspired by Boafo’s oil on canvas ‘Yellow Dress’ has been translated into an intarsia motif on a cashmere roll neck.

Men's knitwear in beige with image of man in front of a wooden door

Sweatshirt, £1100, by Loewe

(Image credit: Dougal Macarthur)

Jonathan Anderson showcased the figurative work of Catalan illustrator and designer Pol Anglada in his eponymous brand’s spring collection. A fiery chunky knit weave cardigan features a brow-furrowed face, inspired by illustrations in Anglada’s father’s comic book collection. 

At Loewe, where Anderson is also creative director, the designer achieved state of the art style, nodding to the figurative works of Paul Cadmus, whose portraits paid homage to the male form. A jacquard wool jumper translates the egg tempera brushstrokes of Cadmus’ ‘The Inventor’ into fabric.

The oozy, molten forms of ceramicist Brian Rochefort inspired Berluti’s Kris Van Assche, who transformed the colourful glazes and lava-like textures of the LA-based sculptor’s pieces into prismatic jacquard jumpers. Their knitwear fabrications evoke the appearance of Rochefort’s works, which seem to overflow with dribbling glazes.

Man wearing patterned jumper from Berluti

Jumper, £1220; trousers, £840, both by Berluti. 'S28' chair, £1000, by Pierre Chapo, from Béton Brut

(Image credit: Dougal Macarthur)

Orange cardigan with face print by JW Anderson

Cardigan, £940, by JW Anderson

(Image credit: Dougal Macarthur)


A version of this article first appeared in the April 2021 issue of Wallpaper* (W*264) – available to download here

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