Have you ever looked at a pot holder with jealousy and wondered, “Why can’t that be me?” Well, not anymore, lady! This is the season for you to start dressing like your grandmother picked out your clothes, with the return of patchwork knits. Remember them? Sure you do. Designers have once again turned away from the soft pretty femininity of the past few seasons, to bring us an unconventional take on conventional. I hate it when they do that.
The name itself is instantly sweet and folksy, like a warm cup of tea on a blustery night. Yet, patchwork knits may just have been the worst trend of the year. With openwork mesh and crochet effects, this style attempts to be charming and whimsical but ends up being frumpy and unflattering. While many crafty crochet looks can be flirty and fun, I promise you that this is not one of them. Patchwork made its unfortunate comeback early this year, most prominently in the fall line of Missoni; a high-end designer known for knitwear and bold patterns.
Missoni used a color palette that is perfect for fall and winter: cool earth tones with rich browns and bright blues, a welcome change in these bleary gray months. Each piece seems organic, a random collage of colorful openwork crochet pieces combined with the chunky wool and angora knits look warm and cozy for the cool weather. This seems like it should be a match made in heaven. However, the end result is a wearable wool doily.
Dressing for cold weather is something that I look forward to. I’m a scarf enthusiast, and I love layers and coats with big buttons and toggles. It’s a great time to mix and match prints or showcase a bold, bright accessory. But the whole patchwork look gives off a “please hold me while I tell you why my cat is my soul mate” vibe. Frankly, this not a message any of us need to be sending. I like to save all cat talk for the third or fourth date.
It’s ironic that this line premiered on the runways of Milan, with each granny ensemble ranging anywhere from $1,000 to $3,500. So, it seems like a safe assumption that Missoni’s pieces won’t become commonplace at the mall. Wrong! Well-known designer Paul Smith has also decided to dabble in elderly fashion. Most notable is an off-shoulder number, which looks like a 70’s throw blanket stolen from your nana’s house.
Ultimately, trends like this fail because the most women aren’t 6-foot tall waifs, existing in the vacuum space of a European runway. If you were walk down the street in one of these craft projects gone awry, you’re not going to be met with applause. The contemporary woman can be bold and unique without stealing from the elderly. Go for slouchy knits, long cardigans and leggings. Leave the quilt in the closet.