Diane De Clercq 2020 Collection
From Diane de Clercq
Since my early childhood in Cannes, where I lived with my mother, my favorite pastime has been to draw colorful lines – many of them, continuously. I treasured dearly my wonderful and enormous collection of colored pens. When I was seventeen, I entered the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs in Nice. My only dream was simply to draw and draw lines. As a young person thinking about how to make a living, I found a way to combine my natural passion for colors while working as an artisan. In this way, I felt that I was still painting but with a new material: threads of natural fibers and always the best quality.
A few years later, living in Italy, I met some very talented women in Umbria who were working with traditional techniques to produce knitwear. Our adventure began then, and it has lasted to this day. Through our collaboration, I continue to “paint” and play with colors without limitation. Everything we make together is conceived from my natural impulse to create and then is born in the hands of these remarkable women. There is no motor in the workshop to propel our adventure. All is done manually, and the filaments are natural. It is a world of infinite threaded lines – lines everywhere! Some are geometrical, while some come from my love of depicting. The figures can be somewhat childlike and often refer to the things I love most: hands and animals. They are born from a surreal dream inhabited by crocodiles, penguins, parrots, and even objects. The details of these creations/designs are key to the way they nourish the imagination.
My first encounter with Diane de Clercq’s knit pieces was in the 1980s at Barney’s New York. Her bold choice of colors was captivating, and I purchased a piece without a second thought. From that day forward, I admired her work, and when I opened my first curated shop, I reached out to her personally to stock her pieces. She happily agreed, and this was the beginning of a close relationship that has evolved over years.
She has been an avid painter since her youth in the south of France (she even met Picasso himself!), and it was on a painting excursion in Italy that she encountered for the first time a group of artisans in Umbria specializing in knitwork. It was a serendipitous introduction to what would become her own new lifework. Today her atelier is located in a one-story house in Rome.
Italy is well known for its high-quality knitting techniques and flourishing knitwear production. A few years back, I traveled with Diane to Perugia, an area with a particularly celebrated craft history in knit production, to meet a group of women who work with hand-operated knitting machines and carry forward the rare, traditional manufacturing techniques that span generations. Their way of life and work is primarily devoted to agriculture, yet they have managed to pass on these historic knitting techniques during the slower months of farm production. I was astonished by their handcraft and coherent protocols that preserve the history of knitwork.
Diane as well works with artisans who have mastered the same types of traditional knitting machines, all originating from the 1920s to the 1940s. Unfortunately, an ever smaller number of artisans are able to carry on these techniques with each generation, and I sincerely hope the valuable manufacturing methods will persist. It is a dream come true to be able to introduce as many people as possible to Diane de Clercq's knits, to inspire connoisseurs with her out-of-the-ordinary expression of color, and to cultivate deep appreciation of this old-fashioned handwork.
- Diane de Clercq was born in Brussels, Belgium and moved to France at the age of six. When she was seventeen years old, she entered "l'Ecole des Arts Décoratifs" in Nice to master in painting. After her studies when she began to live in Italy, she met group of talented women with an enriched expertise for traditional knitwork in Umbria; This was the beginning of Diane’s career in knitwear. Her original collections never ceases to portray her extravagant sense of colours and sensibility that roots in her background. At A&S we have introduced her collections for over ten years, including her exclusive pieces for A&S.
- The items on this webpage are available for direct orders. Archive items are expected to be back in stock in June. For item details please see the credits under each product. Feel free to contact through our Contact Form for further inquiries.