Monday, June 25, 2012

Sandra Backlund

Sandra Backlund is a a fashion designer from Sweden.  Backlund graduated from Beckman's College of Design in 2004 and started her own design label the same year.  I enjoy Sandra Backlund's work because of the way it morphs and shifts the slim female body that wears her work.  Although her work is mostly knit wear, the fiber becomes architectural, bulbous and exaggerated yet remains absolutely chic.

Backlund has become known for her signature knitting techniques, which Backlund completes by hand, entirely on her own (the only exception being her Fall/Winter 2009-10 to Spring/Summer 2011 collections where she worked with Italian manufactures in order to experiment with coupling machine-led processes).  Working between machine knitting and finishing pieces by hand, Backlund's experimentation with knitting processes are exciting and push the boundaries of the traditional sweater.

I also appreciate that Backlund views each of her pieces as individual works of art.  She often documents her garments off of the body as art objects, which yields great forms and unusual views of the pieces.  Backlund admits to working more like a sculpture than a traditional designer, "I improvise on a tailor's dummy or on myself to discover ideas of shapes or silhouettes that I could never come to think about in my head." I love the way her sculptural discoveries transform thin and slight models into powerful, obscure and often frightening creatures.

I was reminded of how much of love Backlund's work, when I visited The Art Institute of Chicago last week and discovered her work on display.  Fashioning the Object is a temporary exhibition on display at the Art Institute until September 13th.  I HIGHLY RECOMMEND it.  Backlund is one of three design houses included in the exhibit, along with Bless and Boudicca.  A very exciting show and there is a great little catalog you can take away with you.

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