Raising the Bar for Luxury Knitwear

In 2012, Chanel acquired Barrie, one of Scotland’s most highly regarded and historic cashmere manufacturers, changing the knitwear game forever. Established in 1903, Barrie had been making high-quality cashmere sweaters for Chanel for 25 years before their partnership became a marriage. Today, the Scottish mill, whose name means “admiration” in Scots, continues to produce pieces for iconic houses such as Chanel, Hermès, Dior, and Yves Saint Laurent, while also creating beautifully designed knits under its own eponymous label.

Barrie’s Spring/Summer 2017 collection is all about playful colors and prints, showcasing pieces that are sporty and fun. Lightweight sweater dresses, shorts and tanks are offered in easy-to-wear geometric stripes, and cardigans–cropped, hip-length, and floor-length–are all accentuated with rows of soft-knit tassels in rainbow hues. Solid, short-sleeved pullovers in pink, blue, and yellow are elegant in their simplicity, while crewneck sweaters with 3-D sailor stripes and others in vibrant “Giverny Jungle” scenes all add a bit of whimsy to Barrie’s otherwise classic, hand-knit silhouettes.

Fledgling Belgian knitwear label Tuinch approached its SS17 line a bit differently, focusing on structure and creating architectural pieces that are both innovative and timeless. Founded by Veronique Vermussche, Tuinch uses the softest cashmere from Kashmir and Tibet to create an effortlessly chic line of knits. This season, her collection is characterized by sleek pieces with a modern edge–high-waisted, form-fitting cashmere bell bottoms, a floor-length sweater dress with an open back and slim silhouette, a chunky, boxy turtleneck with exaggerated, roomy sleeves, and a gorgeously theatrical boat neck pullover with asymmetrical detailing at the cuffs–one encircled with rings of fabric, the other a dramatic bell sleeve.

Also demonstrating her skills in knitwear design is Sally LaPointe, the NYC designer who launched her luxury clothing line in 2011. With each season, LaPointe creates modern garments highlighted with sumptuous and unexpected details. The cashmere pieces in her SS17 collection are no different–a tailored cropped turtleneck and trousers combo shimmers with rhinestone motifs at the collar and ankles, while sporty, loose-fitting hoodies in neutral blacks and grays are dressed up with fur detailing on the shoulders and sleeves.

These designers have all raised the bar for luxury cashmere, proving that old-school names like Loro Piana and Brunello Cucinelli are no longer the only key players in the knitwear game.

About the Author

Val is a writer and editor born and based in New York City. She started her editorial career at Teen Vogue, then moved on to Vanity Fair and Travel+Leisure. She is currently the head of content at StyleKist, a new social commerce app that allows fashionistas to shop and make commissions from their photo and video feeds. You may follow her @diaryofval