I discovered a book by Yoshinori Mizuntani while I was traveling in Japan and his images of wild parakeets living in bustling Tokyo city struck me; flocks of saturated yellow against a dark night sky, the contrast of vibrant tropical birds soaring above the din of city life. A bird motif features prominently in the collection – applique crochet parrots and lettering is applied to 1950’s varsity jackets, pleated dresses, sweatshirts and a boxing robe in a nod to vintage Americana. Retro and playfully preppy, the Loon sub-collection offers up our interpretation of collegiate cool. It appears with greater subtlety on a super-soft Macaw jacquard travel beach set, while the Mali sweater mimics feathered wings. Another migratory movement, the nomadic cattle-herders and traders of the Wodaabe tribe in Niger, inspired the layered textures, fringing and striped patterns of a collection of macramé lounge and beachwear. A new set of bespoke, knit stools reference tribal ceremonial drums and elaborate Niger textiles worn during cultural ceremonies. Like a Kantha tapestry, this collection tells a story of freedom, identity and exploration. - ED
For Fall/Winter 2016, Tabula Rasa honors artisanal handiwork in a collection that explores rich textural juxtapositions and stitches, inspired by Mongolian nomadic culture. Fringing made from a sophisticated mix of Japanese wool, Peruvian alpaca and fine Italian mohair lends volume and warmth to the yoke of an oversized cardigan and bomber jacket while dappled pom-poms add panache to a calf-length pencil skirt. Reminiscent of 1970’s Romani fashions, the diamond lattice macramé designs in the Tuva collection showcase an impressive number of stitch positions in a single garment. They are beautifully executed in a standout one-shoulder dress knotted with two-ply twisted Hasegawa silk wool yarn. The raised striped stitches on the Tolun dress and crew mimic traditional del (Mongolian overcoat) embroidery patterns worn by pastoral herders and offer an elegant look for day. Evening knitwear is interpreted through elevated separates in new silhouettes with crossover panels designed to drape gracefully against the body and move fluidly. A deconstructed vertical ladder stitch deployed in the Tsura split skirt and Tolun pant demonstrate the collection’s range. Gold and black hues add a moody undertone for evening to a palette of tonal creams, mélange greys, hints of pale green, sky blue and pink, borrowed from the colors of the Mongolian steppe. At home, Tabula Rasa introduces lighting in the form of elongated, six-foot hanging lanterns, wire fixtures bound by an open crochet exterior sleeve and accented with hand-fringed fine Italian mohair yarn. Complex stitches from the ready-to-wear collection are applied to stand out accessories including Tuva macramé pillows and giant Mala fringed floor cushions. Hand-made with an acute attention to detail and dedication to craft, this season’s key pieces are to be collected and treasured.
The tribal subjects of documentary photographers Daniel Laine and Laura Anderson Barbata serve as inspiration for Tabula Rasa’s Spring/Summer 2016, Emily Diamandis’ most robust collection of luxury knit ready-to-wear, home and travel accessories to date. Laine’s portraits of African kings in full regalia recall an era of ancient traditions, wisdom and power. This season’s abstract floral and broken plaid prints on fine gauge knits pay homage to Kenyan kanga designs worn by the decedents of great dynasties. A hand-knotted cropette bikini joins a sub collection of bohemian A-line skirts, shift dresses and short, boxy tops woven in a thatched macramé that borrows from African beading patterns. In contrast, an oversized fringed jacket, wide leg pants and slim street-sweeping dresses take cues from the carnival-esque textiles and exaggerated costumes of the gravity defying moko jumbie stilt walkers, whose centuries-old spiritual dance has been memorialized by Barbata. Marled linen yarn spun in an open ladder cable stitch adds texture to distressed boyfriend sweaters, cardigans and hooded robes. Gold and gunmetal tones lend shine, while mottled blue and coral add color to a group of knit basics in a high contrast pallet of white, black, and navy. For summer, Tabula Rasa offers hand-woven comfort for the modern journeywoman’s lounging needs while at home or away. In addition to cushions, throws and towels, the brand expands its home offering to include crochet hammocks, folding deck chairs, cabana swags and other playful beach bungalow accessories. New travel essentials include raffia drawstring luggage organizers, iPad and passport cases.
Neo-futuristic architecture and Cubist painting are twin sources of inspiration for Tabula Rasa Resort 2016, a collection that playfully contrasts tight, tactile knits with sensually fluid silhouettes. Open stitching and weaving evoke the layered, interlocking geometry of world-renowned architect Santiago Calatrava, famous for his honeycombed Orient Train Station in Lisbon and most recently, the soaring station at the foot of One World Trade Center. Like the long lines of his structures, the linen Lahti Dress extends to the floor in slim architectural lines while the Corcovado Shirt features precisely layered “stripes” of stitching using specialty tape from Japan. The marled textures of grey, cream and black tubular yarns in the Vassa Coat echo the pointillist-like marks of simultanéisme, an abstract technique of visually intermingling colors, championed by Sonia DeLauney during the Cubist period in both painting and textiles. The floor-length Lurex Dress features a similar textural complexity in a slinky, comfortably body-hugging yarn knit. In a neutral palette with pops of Lurex shine, the resort collection features oversize knit sweaters, dresses, pants, and outerwear fabricated with a range of marled yarns, tubular lurex, and fine tape yarn that emphasize variety and complexity in every stitch.