Whilst grazing on the goings on in Milan, I encountered French designer Xavier Brisoux’s new knitwear collection over on Dazed Digital. Brisoux's unfathomable knits certainly surpass most of the looks spotted on the runways in the capital of Lombardia. His AW10 offering is inspired by Penelope’s mythical tapestry and features wonderfully deconstructed pieces in luxurious materials including cashmere and merino wool. He is a designer which is exploring the possibilities of knitwear to the fullest. I just had to take another look and share this collection with you because Brisoux's knitwear is like nothing I've encountered before...
After graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2005, Brisoux began designing knitwear for Anne Valérie Hash but in 2007 he launched his own line, xavierxbrisoux. Initially the French designer focused on menswear but has since developed a unisex collection featuring around thirty designs. For Brisoux knitwear is not seen as a lesser part of a larger collection but rather, it is central to his experiments in creating a new way of envisioning men's fashion. Brisoux professes that a collection is at its best when it tells a story but there is a fundamental need that the garments remain wearable. For AW10, he certainly excels in both.
Now, I have to confess... culture neanderthal that I am... I'm not too familiar with the story of Penelope weaving and unravelling her tapestry whilst waiting for her husband Ulysses to return (much to the amazement of Susie... "What did you learn at school?" says she. Answer: not a great deal). However, it is a story which has inspired artists throughout the centuries who have depicted Penelope’s feelings, anxieties and dedication to her work. Thankfully, Xavier Brisoux has taken direct inspiration from Penelope’s myth while making and unmaking the structure of his garments. By adding imperfect details to otherwise flawless pieces. By layering an unfinished jumper on a finished one and hand embroidering subtle minimalist tapestry like motifs into his knits. The more I look at this collection, the more I see. Unexpected shapes arose during his process of deconstruction and reconstruction and Brisoux has, on some level at least, become a modern day Penelope. Rather than embroidering a tapestry, he is working on an evolving knitted piece. The collection demonstrates a keen attention to details whilst featuring classic knitting techniques which have been reinvented in a modern way.
Just one of the handmade embroidered pieces that look like prints. The first piece of embroidery apparently took twenty five hours to complete.
For me, knitwear is relatively an unexplored field within the realm of fashion. The knitwear scene within womenswear is exciting at the moment thanks to talented designers like Louise Goldin, Sandra Backlund and Clare Tough. These designers have truly celebrated and explored the possibilities of knitwear. I'm certain that Xavier Brisoux can do the same for menswear. In the meantime the collection will be on display at Rendez Vous Homme from 22-25 January 2010.
Look book photography by Mathieu Drouet.