Method behind the madness: The Honeycomb Knit

Temperley London (UK)
Temperley London (UK)

Alice elucidates on the inspiration behind her signature textured detailing of the Honeycomb Knit.

The Honeycomb Knit is a true Temperley classic. It epitomizes the slow-fashion ethos Alice has championed for decades – as well as the innovation and whimsy she fuses in all of her collections. First designed when she was studying at Central Saint Martins in 1997, the signature texture has since featured within other pieces, including the Honeycomb Knit Jacket.

What was your inspiration for the honeycomb knit?

‘I’ve always been intrigued by patterns that occur in nature, like the hexagonal honeycomb structures built by bees. Pure perfection.’

Describe the process of making the first one, from conception to creation.

‘I first created the intricate knitting technique on a loom at college, which took me 10 tries and three weeks to get right. The prototype stage was lengthy as it was hard to get perfect – part foiled and felted, linked to neck and cuff, stretched into shape and pre-washed.’

How did you upscale the intricate process?

‘I took my swatch to three or four suppliers before it was close enough to the original. Now made at a family-run atelier in Northern Italy from quality Italian lambswool, each one takes six hours; three knitting and three finishing.’

What’s its significance of the Honeycomb knit for the brand?

‘It was one of the earliest commercial pieces of knitwear for Temperley London and our first iconic design, so I have a special connection to it – along with everyone who has followed the brand from the early days.'

‘It’s been high in demand since it launched, garnering a loyal following – including Kate Moss, Angelina Jolie, Kate Middleton and Gwyneth Paltrow.'

‘When we brought it back, we had so many people telling us they still had their original versions after all these years and had rebought it in new colourways.'

‘It’s so cosy when you are wearing it you almost feel naked without it.’