My interest in knitting has always been a bit like being an anthropologist. Raveling clues of a pastime so many women (and men) daily, quietly participating from making to wearing. Summer approaching, a loved one requested a top she would like to wear – a simple camisole knit by hand. Deciding on a cotton indigo-dyed yarn as I began plotting my course, a few thoughts came to mind. A favorite picture of homemade, knitted swimming suits and undergarments scattered, displaying shapes and color, once commonly worn. As a young girl, summers up to camp at the lake, discovering a scary, scratchy black wool one-piece hanging on the door of my grandparents’ backyard cabin, trying to imagine wearing such a garment reserved for desperate dips to cool down. Coco Chanel’s inspired designs made from knitted fabric intended for men’s underwear during World War I. Putting on, taking off many times ensuring fit, completed, suitable for wearing.
Combining dance, music and art, impresario Sergei Diaghilev collaborated with the most avant-garde artists of the day, resulting in a daring mix of heart and brain, making the Ballets Russes one of the most exciting ventures of the early twentieth century. In 1924, he created the ballet Le Train Bleu, a modern tale set in the fashionable English Channel resort town of Deauville, France.
Influenced by leisure lifestyles of the period, the dancers were depicted as swimmers, tennis players and weightlifters sporting knit stripes and navy bathing costumes designed by Coco Chanel. A Cubist-style set by Henri Laurens, choreography by Bronislava Nijinska, libretto by Jean Cocteau, music by Darius Milhaud and a stage curtain depicting two women running on the beach by Pablo Picasso.
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