Settling in amid spools of yarn, tea mugs and a rice cooker, BULLETT caught up with Sam Leutton and Jenny Postle, the creators of luxury knitwear label Leutton Postle, in their East London studio to discuss their next collection, tribal tendencies, and fabric sandwiches.
BULLETT: For Spring/Summer 2012, you’ve said that you drew inspiration from “crazy paving and chewing gum,” the end result of which is a pastel spectrum of unexpected shapes. How important is color and texture to your collections?
SAM LEUTTON: It’s what the label is based on. It’s color, texture, and pattern.
JENNY POSTLE: Color, texture, pattern—and fun! [Laughs]
SL: We’re, like, kaleidoscopic textile mentalists. Someone called us that and we quite like it.
What is your direction for Fall/Winter 2012 shaping up to be? Your wall is covered with inspiration images, some of which looks tribal.
JP: We do have a bit of a tribal tendency. At the moment, a lot of what we’ve got on the wall is embroidery and close-ups of texture. When we look for inspiration, we look with an open mind. Once the collection is done, I suppose we can look back and see what it was we drew from the most.
How do you normally begin a collection? With a design, or fabric first?
SL: With knitting, you make the fabric up as you go. Once we have a sample in our hand, we start thinking about shapes.
JP: I think a lot of the excitement, for me anyway, comes from the yarns. I like to be able to go into a yarn shop, take the yarns down, and put them on the floor. I’ll look at the colors and then take one out. The people in the shop must think I’m mental, but when we’ve got all those colors and different textures, ideas flow more easily.
Your first Leutton Postle collection is a mash-up of different weaving techniques. Can you describe what some of these techniques were?
SL: We use reverse appliqué, which is a layering of fabrics, then stitching, and then finally cutting fabric away. It’s like a sandwich…
JP: A fabric sandwich. Once you’ve sewn all of it to hold it together, you snip in between the stitch.
SL: There’s e-wrapping, which is really slow, but makes the knit look nice and finished. And there’s crochet, which we did in grids on the skirts.
JP: And tasselling.
SL: Yeah, all the tassels are hand-dyed in different colors and then cut so they can be linked into the knit.
London-based designers like Mary Katrantzou and Louise Gray have taken on special designer collaborations, with Topshop and ASOS respectively, early on in their careers. If you were asked to do a Leutton Postle collaboration in the future, would you be up for it?
SL: It’d be nice if someone approached us and said, “That’s incredible, but I want it as a piece of art.” Or, if someone came to us and wanted to reupholster a car with our textiles.
JP: I wouldn’t want to be spilling anything.
SL: Yeah, don’t want to be eating your McDonald’s in there.
SL: It’d also be fun to do something with other designers.
Any designers you particularly like?
JP: I love Dries [Van Noten]. I really liked last season’s prints and they did some really nice beading. And I love Marni. The shape that they used for their shoes last season was amazing.
What do you want people to say when they see your next collection?