Vogue Fashion’s Night Out in Florence last night was a huge success. The weather held out for a warm but comfortable night, so that everyone could go out in their best dresses and least comfortable shoes! The streets were packed with beautiful people and the stores were buzzing with exciting events.
We were pleased that hundreds of people stopped to watch and photograph our ‘live’ window (our boutique is right off via Tornabuoni on via della Vigna Nuova, in the heart of the city’s luxury district). We didn’t give away champagne or hire models to stand around. Rather, we did what we do best: we make knitwear.
Anna Lenzi has been working at BP Studio since 1982. She was quite embarrassed when we asked her to do her job in the window for the evening, but we assured her that she does it very well, and that people would find her, and it, fascinating.
Indeed, for those inside the fashion production industry, something like the use of this vintage knitting machinery is just everyday work. But if you’ve never seen it before, you’ll be entranced, as passersby were during the event.
The machine, that we brought over from our headquarters just outside of the city, is a manual flat knitting machine that has 2 sets of needles on which the yarn is placed, and depending on how you set them up, it knits different stitches. To increase or decrease, like when you need to make armholes or the shape of a neck, the user – in this case Anna – manually changes which needles are used, so that what comes off the machine is already the right shape.
Each morning, our head designer, Chiara Barontini, leaves Anna instructions with a knit sample and the colour of thread to be used, just like she did tonight for our display. Anna is making turquoise cashmere tube scarves (later she switched to wine colour).
It’s a very physical job – Anna rocks gently back and forth from one foot to the other, balanced widely as she moves with the machine. It’s not a fast movement, but one that is constant, until she stops to change the needle arrangement. To produce beautiful knits takes experience, though the actual motion can be done by anyone – a Chinese fashion student at Polimoda asked to try it out in our window!
After the machined part of the knitwear, Anna sits down and finishes the piece by hand, crocheting together the two sides of the scarf in order to make the tube scarf. The perfection of BP Studio’s knitwear comes from this very manual process, that is done right here in Italy by talented, long-term staff who have this amazing manual ability.
We enjoyed watching peoples’ reactions to the display – and photographed them.
We also took a few pictures around town for you in case you missed the big night. It was fabulous and we are already wondering what to do next year.