White on white is in for Spring/Summer 2011! Everywhere models are sporting monochromatic white ensembles featuring long, flowing maxi skirts with sheer layers of white tops or lace.
The one trend that I saw in Paris everywhere was white lace! In every section of the department store, Lafayette, from Catherine Malandrino to Zara to Derhy, frothy white lace confections were everywhere! Catherine Malandrino had an amazing collection of crocheted white lace dresses:
I came to Paris with white lace already on the brain, inspired by some of the pieces Kim Hargreaves uses in her latest collection, Whisper, to style her knits.
I was really inspired by this lace/knit pairing. The delicate lace with the asymmetrical, flowered neckline compliments the knitted cardigan in a unique way. Here the top is again, paired with Edda:
See how the delicacy of the lace softens the bulky knit! Genius!
Inspired to find a fine white lace top that would form the perfect companion to my knitted pieces for summer, I searched Paris high and low. Although white lace was to be found in every boutique I entered, there was not a single blouse with the asymmetrical neckline, formed by the flower petals, to be found. I haven’t been able to find anything similar here either, so I decided to make something of my own. This doesn't have petals at the neckline, but it is delicate enough to satisfy me:
I really struggled to find the right use for this Habu silk-wrapped linen yarn. I selected it because it is such a pure white, and pure white is suprisingly difficult to find in yarn. But the habu yarn acts like paper--when you knit it up into a moss stitch fabric it crinkles and folds like real paper, making it impossible to block. Lace seems to be the perfect medium for this straw-like yarn, just as flexible as it is strong:
This is Vogues’ Tank #11, which is a 41 row, non-repeating lace pattern complex enough to defy the most acute eye. I had to devise several different anchor points for each pattern repeat to avoid costly mistakes, and the resulting fabric is a delicate cobweb that might be unstable in a regular yarn. To my delight, the habu paper turned out to be the perfect material for this kind of intricate lace, as its straw-like quality allows it to knit up into an extremely stable fabric.
I don't know if it is the lace pattern, or me, but this never knits up to the correct row gage--I have used this pattern twice, and each time the lace panels end up much higher on the neckline than in the pattern design. However, the high neck gives more versatility to the lace, making it possible to wear it in winter as well as summer, since it blends with black just as easily as white:
Paired with a black cardigan, this could be a great winter piece:
So there you have it—if you can’t find that wardrobe completer piece for summer, knit it yourself!