Getting dressed in 2021 is the Jekyll and Hyde of experiences. One day, joyful. The next, soul-crushingly hard to navigate. Summer dressing, as happy-go-lucky as it has been sold to us, is not immune to such causalities. In fact, it’s maybe the worst? The whirlwind romance of seasons, loaded with expectation and, consequently, a recipe for disappointment long-term. We wait and wait some more for this moment; coo over magazine editorials; manifest outfits to be worn on drawn-out days swigging something cold, somewhere hot, in the hope that they will just magically appear. The reality, when the sun doth shine, is a far more complicated sartorial affair. A petri dish of panic-bought items with a short shelf life – versatility and longevity a mere afterthought.
So, it may be time to shift gears. To consider summer clothes built to last at least more than the bandwidth of a British Summertime (at a guesstimate, this lasts approximately 15/365 days of the year). Which is why we’re heralding the enduring, homespun charms of not a silhouette, per se, but this summer’s hottest textile: crochet.
IMAGE | cro-che SS21
“Crochet is so versatile,” Tacita Brown tells us, founder of independent London-based label Cro-Che. “You can wear trainers, boots [or] wedges. You can wear our dresses for a picnic, trip to the supermarket, to work, or a BBQ. They’re designed to suit any occasion.”
“Our first collection was inspired by the swinging sixties [each dress is named after a Motown song: Baby Love, Jimmy Mack, Love Hangover],” she adds. “Music has always been incredibly important to me, and will always be a continuous theme and inspiration. Our first collection is called ‘Sally Go Round the Roses,’ [which is the title of] an amazing 1963 song by girl band The Maynettes. It's been said that Andy Warhol only ever listened to this song in his studio.” Her newly launched second collection, Under The Sea, is a gorgeous sequel – debuting co-ords, skirts and cardigans, alongside her signature mini-dresses.
Elsewhere this season, brands from Bottega Veneta to Batsheva are cheerleading the haute hippy mood. The latter’s 1960s-style crochet cardigans and flower-adorned vests are just the right amount of kitsch, without veering into boho-dress-is-wearing-you, try-hard territory. A perfect harmony of playful and lo-fi, standout without being standoffish. Or, as the Indonesian label Isa Boulder recently ascribed their crochet pieces, “homely sexy.”
Crochet is the holy grail of nostalgic fashion and, as is the case with most retrofied fits, blissfully easy to source second-hand whatever you’re in the market for (bralette? Beanie? Bag?). If searching so online, Vestiare Collective is a good place to start for luxury resale, from brands such as Gucci, Prada, Miu Miu and more. Etsy and eBay for more affordable options too. For the patient readers gathered here today, flirting with a halcyon make-do-and-mend approach, you could also try making something yourself (tip: you can download JW Anderson’s patchwork cardigan knit pattern here). Sooner or later, everything old becomes new again.
HEADER IMAGE | cro-che SS21