PHOTOS: SHAWN BRACKBILL.
Katherine Mavridis spins a very good yarn. Out of her Brooklyn live-work space, the emerging Australian-born designer is cleverly unspooling preconceived notions of the classic knit. Simple sweaters, these are not: Mavridis, a recent alumna of the Parsons MFA program, crafts textural forms that envelop the space around the body. On the rack, they double as sculpture. Her Spring 2016 thesis collection, a parade of white dresses and separates, created with her signature technique of coiling cord into fully three-dimensional, seamless garments, riffed on the appearance of unraveling threads and played with negative space. Eclectic stockist Dover Street Market took notice and added her to their roster. Zendaya and Sia have worn her pieces, and last week, she unveiled a new installation for Dover Street Market New York.
Mavridis grew up surfing in Northern Beaches, about 40 minutes north of Sydney. "It was just kind of something I fell into," Mavridis explains of fashion. "I was always buying things second-hand and cutting them up when I was younger, and my grandma was an amazing embroiderer. My parents are musicians, so I was always around people in interesting gowns and costumes. I traveled the world a lot, and I saw so many different cultures and was inspired by so many different forms of dress." Mavridis later completed her undergraduate studies in fashion and textile design at University of Technology Sydney before making the trip to New York to study at Parsons.
Branching into knits came during Mavridis's third year of undergraduate study. "As soon as I started working from a single kind of fiber, a single yarn, to mold and create my own fabric, I was really drawn to that aspect rather than buying fabric and then cutting it up," Mavridis says. She uses a sewing machine to employ the coiling technique starting with a small circle and scaling up. "I work from these coils of unstitched rope that's coiled that sits on the ground, and I literally twist the coils from these mounds of rope. They naturally grow," she notes. "It's a totally different process, but it has this interesting quality using techniques of increasing and decreasing. A new form can be achieved, endless possibilities."
For the installation at Dover Street Market, on level 4F, Mavridis uses the space to showcase the creation of a piece from fiber to full form. A black sweater dress with kinetic threadbare sleeves hangs from a rack surrounded by a nest of coiled cords. "I wanted to create a blown up installation of that exact process in a very minimalistic way, and literally just show, on a personal level, what I experience while I develop these pieces." We can't wait to see more.
KATHERINE MAVRIDIS'S INSTALLATION IS NOW ON VIEW AT DOVER STREET MARKET NEW YORK. FOR MORE ON THE DESIGNER, VISIT HER WEBSITE.