Quilting has been enjoying something of a contemporary renaissance – shedding its homespun arts-and-crafts reputation for something chicer. Almost an anti-trend due to its slow, labour-intensive and deliberate nature, the craft has captured the imagination of the fashion pack, cropping up across recent catwalks from Alexander McQueen and Viktor & Rolf to Prabal Gurung, Calvin Klein and Off-White. As we introduce the new Hesketh House capsule quilting collection, we trace the enduring power of the quilt.
A Modern Reworking
Liberty Fabrics’ forward-looking yet heritage-conscious design philosophy fits perfectly within the medium of quilting – exemplified by this season’s Hesketh House capsule collection, which pays homage to the Aesthetic Movement of the 1890s. Our studio team has scoured the vast Liberty design archive to glean inspiration, transforming small elements from historic prints and artworks into cutting-edge modern layouts. Printed in our own fabric mill on soft and sturdy Lasenby cotton, this base is as suited to creating directional quilted jackets or super-structured skirts as it is for classic patchwork bedspreads and cushions – the possibilities are as endless as your imagination.
A Subversive Art Form
Quilting has rebellious roots, offering a way for ordinary people to flex their creativity even in the days before widespread literacy or leisure time. In 1971 New York City’s Whitney Museum of American Art exhibited ‘Abstract Design in American Quilts’, helping to recategorise quilting as an artistic medium to equal oils or marble. More recently, quilted textiles have been employed subversively as a medium by modern artists like Tracey Emin, Natasha Kerr, Jo Budd and Michele Walker, who use them to play with the values of domestic (often female) creative expression by translating these softly-coloured everyday materials into complex and unsettling new forms.
Quilting’s rustic, down-home appeal has seen it become a fully-fledged trend in recent seasons, cropping up in campaigns and collections across the fashion landscape. Ralph Lauren’s star-studded 50th anniversary retrospective show for Spring/Summer ‘19 featured Kaia Gerber walking in a patchwork cape that paid clear homage to the designer’s respect for American crafts, while Calvin Klein’s latest underwear campaign featured the entire Kardashian clan posing on intricate patchwork quilts in a rural orchards-and-barns heartland setting.
And it’s not just U.S. fashion houses who have fallen under the craft’s spell – both Dior and Marni played with quilted textures in their Autumn/Winter 2018 collections, while French purveyors of chic A.P.C. have been creating limited-edition quilts for years. Viktor & Rolf has previously embraced eco-conscious couture by way of upcycled patchwork textiles and over at Alexander McQueen, the influence of British eiderdowns and quilted blankets has been visible across several seasons.
A Sustainable Practice
Quilting has always offered a sustainable method for transforming unused scraps and deadstock into something beautiful – an inspiring technique that feels tailor-made for those who wish to cut down on waste and instead invest in more meaningful, long-lasting designs. This combination of versatility, sustainability and creative ingenuity may explain why quilting is having A Moment, style-wise – and why, from rustic living essential to runway statement piece, this crafting trend seems destined to continue to reign.