But I was unaware of his knitwear designs until last week. After I posted my Perry Ellis dress several knitters of my generation or thereabouts, aware of my new found interest in knitting, told me to take a look. So here is what I found. Ellis designed knits for both women and men, and while some of the shapes and colours are a bit full on today (maybe even “vulgar”), I think they work marvellously as outfits – matched with long, tweedy skirts, culottes or pleated trousers. Simple, classic sweaters – ften with one cabled column up the CF, cropped or pulled in with a belt to emphasise the waist, blousey shapes with batwing sleeves or fuller shoulders – again to emphasise the waist, and in monocrome to provide clarity of line and textural detail.
But while these monochrome and neutral schemes are restrained and beautiful Perry is also known for his bold use of colour. Look at these! Stripes created by unevenly dyed variegated wool, blocks of geometric colour, and the amazing Queen of Hearts tabard style sleeveless jumper also show the designer’s interest in colour and motif. Again I like the styling of these items. The rusty jumper is matched with toning, pleated tweedy pants, and the tabard has cropped pin stripes for a nice contrast. The darker section of the queen’s dress over the model’s middle, and the flattering curves up towards the bust, and down towards the hips, is unlikely to be accidental. The long line geometric jumper is voluminous and colourful. But by pairing it with a long line, hobble skirt, neat ankles and footwear, it stands out in a good way. Tasteful.
Finally let’s have a look at the jumpers that Ellis designed for men. Many of the designs are classics and look very acceptable for today. Below we have a colour work jersey in various shades of brown and purple that looks colourful and fun, and a nice challenge for the wife or mother. The other two jumpers are almost identical to beige woman’s sweater above, and the cropped purple one. A simple cable up the front, nice ribbing and a chunky yarn. Very wearable for all.
Having done this review I have been looking around for a Perry Ellis knitting pattern and I have ordered this Vogue book which I think may include the batwing, cropped cable.
In the meantime I found two “Perry Ellis” sweater patterns that are free for you to download. Neither are actually designed by Ellis – Mark Jacobs, who took over the studio after Ellis’s death, was responsible for the 1980s version. The first is the 1990 Vogue knitting version, which is great but rather warm and chunky, and then we have a 2011 version which is lighter and more of an evening sweater. After Stephanie suggested she is going to produce jumpers inspired by her beloved Canada, I have been thinking of creating something similar with a London skyline.