Inspiration can be found in the most abstract of places. Some designers draw on modern architecture. Others find it in science and nature. For New Zealand based knitwear designer Kylee Davis, the inspiration behind her summer collection came from a piece of jewellery.
We arrive at Port Melbourne’s MARS gallery, lured in by the scent of luxe MOR candles and the dulcet tones of singer songwriter Grace Pageant.
We are greeted by the gorgeous Kylee Davis girls with coconut water, smoked salmon, petit-fours and sparkling rosé straight from New Zealand- a little treat amidst the madness that is fashion week. Guests are invited upstairs to watch a live photo shoot of Davis’ most recent collection, taking place in a picturesque light-bathed loft. We watch a model with tousled hair in a powder blue knit and a pair of mandala printed pants. So often, when a customer sees a model wearing a garment, they think to themselves “That would never look like that on me.” That’s Kylee Davis’ strong point- literally anyone can wear and look beautiful in this collection.
“I try to do each piece in at least two different colour ways, so there’s something for both cool and warm skin tones,” Kylee tells us. As Kylee talks us through the collection, it’s clear that she designs with wearability in mind at all times. The powder blue knit we saw earlier comes as a block colour, or with an incredibly detailed snake print on the back for the fearless trendsetters among us. “I have a friend who designs jewellery, and she had this incredible snake inspired piece. That’s where the inspiration for the prints in this collection came from.”
Kylee explains that “people don’t think to wear knitted pieces in summer, so I’m always looking for ways to make it lighter for the warmer months.” Her summer collection is made of the finest raw cotton and cotton blends, with many of the garments featuring incredible macramé detailing. A highlight is a fun twist on the little black dress- this one is made entirely from organic cotton with cobalt dip dyed macramé tassels down each side of the body. The collection is wearable and versatile whilst maintaining a point of difference, setting Kylee Davis’ knitwear apart from the rest.
Each garment is made in New Zealand, and no more than 15 to 20 pieces are created in each style. The “hero piece,” as Kylee calls it is a boat necked, fitted mini dress featuring a completely hand crocheted macramé centre panel. The crocheting itself took roughly 18 hours to complete. The rest of the collection features rich coppers, moss greens and aqua blues- “trend colours” to compliment other neutral raw cotton pieces.
Kylee Davis is truly a knitwear innovator, creating lightweight, wearable yet directional pieces that can be worn all year round.
Images by Jasmin Blom
Gemma Watts also writes for her own blog, The Girl & The Sea. Visit her own personal fashion mecca for more fashion news and street style at thegirl-and-thesea.blogspot.com