Funny how a collection can take a roadside swerve in to a totally different direction and surprise you from behind.  When I last saw rising knitwear designer Lucas Nascimento in the studio, he was looking at graphic Japanese landscapes and kimono cut-outs.  Instead, for his A/W 12-3 collection, he looked closer to home – his home in S√£o Paulo and got inspired by the idea of refining and distilling the city’s graffiti and skateboard culture.  Back in February, at the stunning Two Temple Place where powerhouse PR agency RelativeMO staged a day of well-thought out, well-crafted presentations, Lucas Nascimento made his LFW show debut and demonstrated why we should be paying attention to this new knittist.

What marks Nascimento out is that his work doesn’t look like knitwear at all as he sets about choosing his yarns carefully to knit up his own textiles and create novel textures that go beyond visible wooly knit and purl. The waffle knit looks like a continuation of the jersey cordweave texture created for his S/S 12 collection and once again he sticks to sleek and uncomplicated shapes like pencil skirts, button-less jackets, puncuated by the flash of a yellow poloneck.  A chenille type yarn is woven into a tactile texture resembling the look of a carpet that mysteriously changes in different lights because you’ve rubbed your hands over it, causing the fibres to change direction.  When this structured carpet-esque fabric is tailored into shift dresses, the effect of a minimal shape vs. maximal texture is quite arresting.  Nascimento may have also created a strapless dress that I finally like with a purple tube dress rising into a peaked rectangle at the bust like a piece of armour.  Astroturf green pops alongside deep purple and yellow as references to Brazilian drinks bottles or in my mind, the nation’s obsession with footie and the green pitches. 

The focal point of the collection though lies in the tinsel yarn worked into graffiti print pieces.  Nascimento has elevated the graffiti paint spray to a condensed and precise pattern that was carefully pre-ordained by a computer and a knitting machine.  It’s this level of control over the potentially wayward knit, that is extremely impressive and again, he restrains himself on shape, sticking to straight-lined shift dresses with a down-to-earth nod of pockets at the hips and gently cocooned coats.  Who knew wearing head to toe tinsel could look so refined?  This isn’t lady-lady refinery either.  It’s to-the-point and startlingly mature for a designer who is only a few seasons in.   

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Here’s a heads up of Lucas Nascimento’s sample sale going on tomorrow at his studio if you’re in London, with price starting from a bargainous ¬£40.  I sneakily got in there and nabbed a few things before I left for Australia but I promise I didn’t leave the rails bare…

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You know you've been hit with fashion gluttony when after being rammed with womenswear collections from all corners of the globe in email attachments, from fashion weeks in the big four and further afield, you're STILL not sated.  In fact you go looking at the menswear stuff as well.  Most of you will know that Steve of Style Salvage is the root source to blame.

A few weeks ago, when he took a closer look at the prints in Agi & Sam's A/W 12-3 collection, which was the talk of London's menswear day during fashion week, I wasn't content with just merely seeing the pieces up close and getting their inspiration notes.  The difference between Steve and myself is that I'm probably more inclined to try the stuff on, in order to really begin to get what all the fuss is about.  Therefore in another his n' hers type post, I have bullied him into a bit of print action, something that he is slowly converting to as I encourage him to work prints into his closet, bit by bit.  Part of my evil agenda of course.

To be fair Steve didn't really need bullying when it came to supporting this dynamic print duo.  Being a part of the MAN showcase gave Agape Mdumulla and Sam Cotton an incentive to really come into their own this season.  For A/W 12-3, they ponder "Darwin's Theory of Why The Chicken Crossed the Road", which sounds more complicated than it actually is.  They imagine an apocalyptic world where they have nothing at their disposal to recreate finer cloths of yesteryear.  Using a fabric created entirely from plastic bottles, Agi & Sam then printed the textures of crochet blankets, Linton tweeds and tartans.  Tessellated ducks and puppet men as well as a beautiful watercolour print of chickens and mallards are unexpected surprises.  Printing the appearance of textures on to a surface isn't anything new but it's Agi & Sam's boldness with colours that really lifts the prints.  Actually, it was the mallard and cockerel look that really hit the spot for me.  I can almost smell my grandfather's tweed caps and see his old wooden mallard ornaments, as favoured by anyone with a fixation to Countryfiles.  Agi & Sam seem to have a knack for hitting nostalgia notes, what with their previous tees printed with Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and potato smiley faces. 

The show was mainly styled in mono-print ensembles, which worked as a visual statement but in reality, the prints can be boldly mixed together and Steve even went for a combo of two of the prints together.  Being a fashion glutton and greedily delving into menswear does of course mean being totally comfortable with a slightly oversized fit and in the case of the coats, I especially like the way the shoulders are too big and the length hangs longer than usual.  Predictably, I went in for the mixed print kill, especially with pieces like the blue tartan blazer and the oversized traffic light hued tweed print coat. 

Agi & Sam aren't exactly menswear purists though that sacredly can't be worn by women and in fact, they did do a small womenswear capsule collection last season.  For now though, they want to concentrate on their menswear offerings and launch womenswear when the time is right and when they have the ability to do it properly.  To my mind, that's the sane thing to do.  Greedily egging menswear designers to make womenswear by simply adapting the sizing isn't exactly sound business advice.  For now, shamelessly stealing from the wrong rail every now and again will definitely suffice.

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Agi & Sam tartan print jacket worn with vintage top, Versace x H&M skirt, Christopher Kane brocade sandals

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Agi & Sam stripe knit print coat worn with Balenciaga jumper, Ohne Titel skirt, Nike Liberty trainers, Mother of Pearl cap.

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Agi & Sam crochet print bomber jacket worn with Krystof Stroznya orange jacket, Uniqlo shirt, Joe Fresh neoprene skirt, Eye of the World belt, Prada shoes.

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Agi & Sam duck print white shirt worn with Michael Angel latex coat, Balenciaga skirt, Beau Coops shoes.

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Agi & Sam tweed print cream-sleeved coat and tessellated puppet print long shirt worn with Glamour x Opening Ceremony cat sweater, Luella shoes. For all the He credits, Style Salvage will enlighten you.

>> The clever folks at Prada know how to spot a good viral-in-the-making collaboration.  They've chosen well by teaming up with Iranian-born, Paris-based graphic artist Vahram Muratyan to present their new project Prada Parallel Universes, a series of illustrated animated gifs that will be unveiled on Vahram Muratyan's site, across the blogosphere with myself happy to be one of the between-universe messengers, and on Prada.com eventually.  You'll probably all know Muratyan from his unstoppably popular blog Paris vs. New York, where characteristics of each city are brought to life and pitted against each other.  I think I've Tumblr-ed one too many of his little comparison.  I especially loved the London vs. New York series he did for Nowness.    

Prada Parallel Universe is a re-imagined virtual road paved with Prada's S/S 12 mens and womens accessories, fragmented and abstracted with Muratyan's distinctive and succinct style.  These GIFs feel very much in line with Prada's vaguely lo-fi and awkward approach towards digital output what with their PDF animated GIFs out there in the world alongside their Real Fantasies PDF downloads and calling their films "motionbooks".  Moreover, you have to commend Prada for eking out a collection that has had such indelible impact on the season, by picking up on the memorable accessories (the Dixie sunglasses, the men's Rocket shoes, the and the Pyramide bag) and reworking them into Muratyan's context.  

I've been given a surreal vision of a game of golf taking place on the bridge of a pair of Prada Teddy sunnies.  Bryan Boy, Anna Dello Russo, Kate Loves Me, A Shaded View on Fashion and Know Wear will be unveiling their universe visions over the next few days and you can but in the meantime, Prada Parallel Universes begins with Universe 0 and the rapid motion of the lipstick tail light wedge…  

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>> What happens when you get a bit lazy with the blogging radar and fail to put in at least two hours of diligent blog browsing time every day?  You snooze and you lose and you miss a gem like Strathcona Stockings, a lovely Etsy-based, Tumblr-friendly, animated GIF-happy label based in Vancouver in Canada that specialises in hand printed socks and stockings of the finest quality.  So fine that they unfortunately come in limited quantities and now I'm sucking on the loser thumb for allowing Strathcona to pass me by as pretty much all of their socks have sold out on both their Etsy site and their Bigcartel site.  Certain stockists like Dagmar Rousset in Melbourne and Assembly in New York still have a few pairs loitering around.  Otherwise though, it's pretty much a case of me staring wistfully at Strathcona's curious array of imagery on their website and addictive Tumblr.  Annoyingly their tropical florals and foliage printed socks are the exact missing components in my plan to pretend that the tropics are coming to London what with Maarten van der Horst's recently dropped collection for Topshop.  To borrow from the footballing world, I missed a right proper sitter and I only have myself to blame.  Let's hope Strathcona comes back soon from their otherworldly travels to bring us more delightful ways to cover up my mosqito ravaged and goosebump-marked legs.

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>> Back in June last year at the Pitti Uomo tradeshow, I nearly wept with excitement when I met Garance Broca and was introduced to her knitwear label Monsieur Lacenaire, just because her witty knits broke the mould from the rails and rails of uninteresting tailoring, oxfrod brogues and heritage/workwear type gear.  Since then Monsieur Lacenaire has gone down a treat with stockists with her knitted teddy varsity jacket in particular storming away as a sell out item.  

Broca doesn't shy away from internet-led gimmicks to accompany her knits.  First it was a cute stop/start animation.  Now we have a knitted take on Space Invaders to go with her houndstooth jumpers and cardigans from her S/S 12 collection that feature sheep-like critters coming at you.  You can play the game on their Facebook page and try as the top scorer will win a jumper.  I really wanted to embed the game on to my page but I have a zero autoplay music policy.  The music isn't the Space Invaders blippy toned norm as the music has been especially made by D33J and Juj, beatmakers from WeDidItCollective and is worth downloading.  My score is unsurprisingly dismal.  You guys can surely do a whole lot better.      

**EDIT** They've turned off autoplay music now so I can zap away to my heart's content on the blog.  You won't have the eye energy to read anything else after a few games of this.  

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The latest Monsieur Lacenaire's A/W 12-3 collection features more of those lovely alpaca Peru-made knits that are perfect presents for boyfriends/male friends, which you then promptly steal/borrow from.  The knitted teddy varsity jacket is back and this time in colourways such as a duck egg blue and red.  Broca also introduces a Parisian take on a Fair Isle pattern by working in motifs from art nouveau designer Hector Guimard and his iconic entrances to Paris metro stations.   Who knows what internet-based hi-jinx will come out of the Fair Isle.  Art Nouveau-themed Etch-a-sketch perhaps?    

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