It’s the 80’s again. When it’s this good, who can resist?
I’ve been revisiting my other design idol, Jenny Kee.
In the late 80’s all chic Australians who came to visit us in Los Angeles were wearing Jenny and her partner Linda Jackson’s designs, so a trip to Sydney had to include their shop, Flamingo Park. Linda made beautiful hand printed fabrics.
They were both inspired by their environment, Australia, in all its unique beauty: wildlife, trees, colours, and Aboriginal art. The vest above is worn over Linda’s fabric.
The images here are from two of Jenny’s knitting books, Knits from Nature and Winter Knits which were published in 1988 and 1990. [ if you’d like to know which design is in which book, email me and I’ll be happy to look it up]
Masks. I was given this and wore it for years. Where oh where is it now?
Barrimundi makes me want to throw out everything I’m working on and start over.
Flying Oz knit by Jenny, skirt and head scarf by Linda.
Barrier Reef. Love the skirt!
Jenny has always been a conservationist and hopes that her inspiration from nature will inspire others to preserve the natural environment.
Didgeridoo, inspired by the Aboriginal instrument.
For something just as exciting and available to buy now, check out Minneapolis designer Annie Larson’s website if you don’t already know her work. These are machine knits. I love them, especially this, this, and this.
Do they make you smile, too?
Kee is extraordinary because, like Patricia Roberts, she was making ready-to-wear that fit right into what was happening in fashion and made the look available to hand knitters.
That said, I’ve often thought that complex designs like these which were so popular with designers in the 80’s might have contributed to the decline in hand knitting that took place in the 90’s. Although beautiful, they made knitting less accessible.
I admire Jenny Kee for her artistry, colour sense and commitment to her Australian roots. While I’d happily, even now, make “Masks” and wear a Linda Jackson dress under it because it’s timeless and comfortable fashion, these days I prefer to design and knit garments that don’t require row by row concentration, but still have some interesting detail. Luckily for all of us, fashion is extremely flexible these days. The fashion police have been put in their place. You can wear last week’s runway hit with a thrift shop find and be admired for you creativity. In hand knitting, you can make something as simple or as complex as you’d like. Knitting is now for everyone, not just the virtuoso, and that’s the way it should be.