Ever since 28-year-old Louise Goldin graduated from Central Saint Martin's in the summer of 2005 and her spidery degree collection was bought and produced exclusively by Selfridges in London she has attracted above-average amounts of attention. It's small wonder given her ability to strip knitwear of its cosy (on a good day) or frumpy (on a bad) image. Instead, right from the start, the complex nature of this designer's determinedly body-conscious clothing, often layered and textured to the point where it defies deconstruction, has impressed both buyers and fashion editors alike.
For spring/summer 2008, Goldin, who had previously shown as part of the Fashion East collective, made her solo debut at the London collections and celebrated the move by proving herself as adept with coloured yarns as she has hitherto been with neutrals. She says she was thinking of the work of the Abstract Expressionist painter Kandinsky (Antonio Gaudi has proved an equally ambitious source of inspiration in the past) although the slick, geometric look of ultra-short, second-skin designs in myriad fluorescent hues also brought a futuristic take on the iconic knits of the famous Italian Missoni brand to mind.
As Sarah Mower wrote at the time, on the influential American Vogue website style.com: "There was so much going on in their [the models'] dresses, hoodies, rompers, tunics, and bodysuits that it was hard to keep pace. Apart from the orange, cyclamen, turquoise, green, purple, and white, there were stripes, checkerboards, transparent bands, ruching, papery creases, and ruffles as fine and fluttery as tropical-fish fins." It is true that, for a first outing, this demonstrated a level of technical accomplishment that is rare.
Whichever way one chooses to look at it, Goldin's work to date has gone quite some way towards proving that there's more high-fashion potential to knitwear than may be seen in the average, trusted oversized cardigan knitted for Christmas by one's granny, say. Enough to establish Goldin's name as one to watch.
Portrait by Gautier Deblonde