Knitwits, rejoice! While beloved knitwear line Lutz & Patmos is no more (co-designers Marcia Patmos and Tina Lutz shuttered their 10-year-old label last year), Patmos recently launched a solo line, M. Patmos, with a small spring collection that was instantly snapped up by Barneys.
For fall, the New York-based sweater girl—and 2011 Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation winner—expanded the range to include other ready-to-wear pieces (wool trousers, leather shorts and skirts) alongside her signature knits. And, oh, what knits! In addition to long slinky skirts and classic pullovers, Patmos offered up a dress with long sleeves that unbutton at the elbow to become three-quarter length; chunky tribal print cardigans with matching removable scarves; a casual-cool fringed scarf/vest; and several pieces—including a pullover and maxi skirt—that were woven on a state-of-the-art Japanese loom using one continuous thread (look ma, no seams!).
"There are so many new directions I am interested in exploring, such as new methods of fabrication, new combinations of materials, and the increasing ability to create fashion with a conscience from eco-friendly materials or by working with sustainable artisan community collectives," the RISD grad told us of the inspiration behind M. Patmos, which is now sold at Barneys and specialty boutiques nationwide and at Le Bon Marche and Matches in Europe.
Having already featured eco-chic knits and a sweater handmade by a Bolivian women's arts collective, Patmos revealed she has a new shoe collaboration in the works (though it's too early to discuss specifics) and is gearing up to introduce e-com on her site once fall rolls around. Sweet! And the designer, a long-time flea market aficionado, is still overseeing Leroy & Perry, the more casual, vintage-inspired line she and Lutz launched in 2008.
The Fashion Informer's Lauren David Peden spoke to Patmos earlier this month about nicknames, Evita memorabilia and why manipulative wedding music never fails to make her cry.
What's your favorite flea market in the world?
Well, I hope to visit many more, but Noordemarkt in Amsterdam is my favorite so far. Part of why I love it is that it is held on Monday mornings (they don't work half of Monday in Holland). If I am there, it means I am visiting good friends who are super fun to hang around with. It also means I am having amazing apple pie with them. But really, there is just great stuff there and tons of great Seventies textiles and Northern European sweaters. All foreign flea markets are intriguing because you see different versions of things than you would normally find. In Florence or Milan, you find amazing Murano glass chandelier crystals or intricate lace table linens you would never see here. At San Telmo in Buenos Aires, there is amazing old silver, Evita memorabilia and tango clothing.
What's your favorite flea market find of all time?
It is an ongoing collection of vases (ceramics and glassware) that I have been collecting for many years. I love them because I can wrap one in some t-shirts and bring them home safely in my suitcase. I now have a multicolor collection that reminds me of everywhere I have been. Flea markets are fantastic because you see different variations of the same things everywhere—so you can end up with a focused yet varied group of your favorite items.
Beverage of choice?
Organic Assam tea with soy milk.
Most inspiring work of art?
I thought about this a lot and there are so many possible answers for so many reasons. I love Andy Goldsworthy's wall at Storm King Arts Center because of the beautiful interaction of human craft with nature. I love an installation on a fence under the Manhattan Bridge because of its urban beauty and renegade nature. But what inspires me on a daily basis is what I look at as I have my morning coffee: My own personal curation which consists of art I have won at benefit auctions, gifts from artist friends, a fortieth birthday present, and works purchased from local artists and galleries [shown below].
Clockwise from top left: Will Yaculic drawing, Victoria Burges guache on vintage map drawing, Deborah Forman mixed media painting, Diane Patmos painting, Lauren Garfinkel photograph, Allison Kyner etching, Elizabeth Peyton portrait of Marc Jacobs. Around corner, top to bottom: Michael Lazarus screen print with collage, Julian Jackson painting.
What is your computer desktop pattern/photo and how often do you change it?
My iphone has a new photo of cherry blossoms taken yesterday at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. I change them when inspired.
What's your go-to snack food?
Lately, it is cashews and dried mango or California apricots.
Tell me about your best friend.
I have two and am not sure that I could choose just one. David is an event planner and Lolo has a vintage textile studio. Both live in Brooklyn and are the only people I pick up the phone for after 10 pm.
Favorite mode of transportation?
What was your nickname in junior high, and what's your nickname now?
I didn't really have one then, but my college nickname was Peatmoss, and my current one is Marcia (pronunciation: Mar-cee-ah, inspired by the Dominican mail carrier at a former job).
What is it about fashion design that you love, as opposed to any other form of creative expression?
I love to see it walking down the street. I love the fact that it is a constant collaboration with others, from the designer to the manufacturing process to the wearer. The audience participates in this art form more so than in any other. It is so exciting and interesting to see how real people incorporate pieces into their lives.
What's your charity of choice?
NRDC, because we and our successors need a healthy earth to live on, no matter what is going on politically or economically.
What talent would you like to possess that you don't already?
I am very well versed in how to connect and manipulate soft materials, and I would like to learn more about connecting hard materials like wood, glass, metal and ceramics.
What never fails to make you cry?
Manipulative movie music, wedding vows and talking about my grandmother(s).
When are you happiest?
Walking on the beach. Preferably on a sunny day, but rain or fog is also beautiful.
images courtesy M. Patmos