From ship’s ropes carefully knotted and tied by the hands of crafty sailors, to the crocheted blankets your grandmother gifts you at Christmas… macrame and crochet will likely be familiar to you in some sense. For spring 2011 both make a strong return; but forget the homemade craft feel – as a 2011 fashion trend it’s all about intricacy, quality and a luxury edge.
Read on to find out more about crochet clothing and macrame as trends, including the differences between the two and inspiration for key pieces and accessories.
- About macrame
- About crochet
- Themes in 2011
- Macrame and crochet accessories
- How to wear crochet and macrame
- Picture inspiration
What is macrame?
No doubt you already have a picture of crochet pieces in your head. When it comes to macrame, think of a similar visual finish, but with a big difference in the piece’s construction: macrame is made by knotting the main fabric to great visual affect. It’s a craft most often associated with 19th century sailors, who made all kinds of macrame objects in their spare time – with shipping rope, or from leather, yarn, twine or other sturdy materials. For those who lived through it, macrame was a trend in homewares back in the 1970s – think wall hangings and pot-plant holders (the likes of which your parents or relatives may still be hoarding from their younger days.)
What macrame is being used for in 2011
Macrame is mostly used for accessories and objects; because it’s constructed of knots it can be bulky and have little stretch to it. Nevertheless, 2011 sees it used on clothing and accessories alike.
Because it can often have a very open weave, macrame is 2011’s perfect accompaniment to beachwear. Just have a look at the examples from Gucci and Christian Dior below – an open-weave macrame dress is ideal for layering over a bikini, monokini or bodysuit.
Macrame at Gucci, SS11
Other examples of macrame in 2011 are better for daywear, or even eveningwear, as well as for accessories (more on accessories below).
What is crochet?
Crochet isn’t knotted like macrame; it’s made from loops of yarn, created using a single hooked needle. Hence, it’s very delicate but not so delicate as to be a lace. Nonetheless, crochet is closely tied to the current lace trend with the two clothing trends overlapping overlapping. For the purpose of this article we’re defining crochet as the heavier, 70s inspired examples as opposed to more delicate crocheted lacework. Thematically the look of crochet in 2011 is closer to that of macrame.
Both crochet and macrame in 2011 rode in, partially, on the wave of a 1970s revival. This was reflected in the colour palette dominating the spring / summer 2011 runways: earthy tones, browns and oranges, creams and whites. Pieces are based on hippy, festival chic inspirations, but overall the aesthetic is still luxurious with a modern sense of refinement.
70s inspired dress and granny square bag at Ferragamo, SS11
Macrame in particular also heralds in a subtle nautical revival, seen as well in the naval-inspired stripes and numerous pairs of wide-leg sailor pants gracing the runways. Do think luxury nautical though; the kind you’d be seen wearing on a yacht in St Tropez. It should be elegant, sexy, and unfussy.
Nautical-inspired macrame at Dior, SS11
For spring 2011 your options for adding this trend to your wardrobe are ample; including a variety of accessories. Woven shoes (like those at Prada and Gucci) are perfectly now; and even more perfectly in line with the look are the intricate sandals seen at the likes of Jen Kao and Malandrino.
Malandrino’s SS11 macrame sandals
We’ve already mentioned that the main thematic inspirations behind the trend are the hippy seventies and the early sailors of the seven seas. But what to pair your pieces with specifically? Here are a few key looks you can create with macrame and crochet in 2011.
Boho fringing at Roberto Cavalli, SS11
- Look for pieces the end in exaggerated fringing, a la Roberto Cavalli (pictured above) for a high-impact boho luxe look.
- Pair a crochet top or vest with an updated pair of bell bottoms and a floppy felt hat for a look that’s straight out of the ’70s yet oh-so-now.
- Many a crochet bikini is available, though perhaps not the most practical garment for swimming they can work brilliantly poolside or under a pair of denim shorts in Summer.
- Bring the tribal trend of previous seasons into 2011 with macrame pieces in earthy colours paired with tribal prints.
- Go ultra modern and sexy with a stark, minimalist take like Julien MacDonald’s white mini-hemmed crochet dress (below).
Julien MacDonald, SS11