It’s difficult to tell whether “The Art of Knit,” United Colors of Benetton’s pop-up store in SoHo, is a shop, a gallery, or a toy store for adults. A giant knitted, pale-blue whale hangs on the wall where a painting should be; along with a soft, cream clock as big as a beach umbrella, woolen cacti, watermelons, and pretzels.
Simultaneously whimsical and irreverent, the decorations reflect a fresh direction for Benetton.”No one takes a look at a broom and says ‘I like my broom’ but you take an object that is used everyday, that you take for granted, and present it in a different way (wrapped in soft wool) and all of a sudden it has new meaning,” explains Creative Director You Nguyen.
Also on display are three installations by Cuban born artist Erik Ravelo depicting Koons-like, life-size couples entwined in Karma Sutra poses, made from, and suspended on, woolen ropes. Part of a series of 15, “Lana Sutra,” Ravelo’s other creations will be on display in the Benetton stores in Munich, Milan, and Istanbul. “The project started about a year ago during the Venice Biennale. We were playing with the idea of scraps. Usually you would throw the scraps away from making sweaters but we thought why can’t we use the thing that we would usually throw away, and make it into an object of desire and of beauty and it developed from there,” You Nguyen told Interview.
The Art of Knit opens to the public as part of Fashion’s Night Out tonigh, September 6, from 6pm to 10pm, at 135 Crosby Street in SoHo, New York.