FLOWER POWER The structures, shades, and scents of delicate blossoms have inspired the world over. BAZAAR talks petal perfection with Sam McKnight and Chitose Abe.
Chitose Abe’s cult label Sacai has blossomed into one of the most coveted, with her approach to reimagining classic silhouettes and unconventional use of patterns and textures. Flowers played a central role in her Spring 2015 collection. “I often think about the juxtaposition of masculine and feminine ideas combined to create a new classic,” she says. “The silhouettes were based on utility wear and uniforms, but by using a soft chiffon with a colourful floral print I changed masculine silhouettes into something more feminine.” Abe has always loved the interaction between the natural and the industrial. “My favourite garden is Katsura Rikyu in Kyoto,” she shares. “The balance between historical ical buildings and manicured gardens creates a beautiful sight.” It’s a contrast sought in the design of her flagship. “There’s a wall with glass sliding doors that open onto a garden,” she reveals. “I like how you can see a hint of green through the window. The mix of nature and man-made within the same environment is truly beautiful.”
For more than 30 years, Sam McKnight has been one of the most in-demand hairstylists, collaborating with Karl Lagerfeld and Vivienne Westwood, and transforming the tresses of Kate Moss and Madonna. But it was just five years ago that he finally got to apply his creativity to another passion – gardening. When he bought his first house, a semi-detached Edwardian in North West London, McKnight took garden inspiration from old estates: Sissinghurst, former home of poet, author, and Virginia Woolf paramour Vita Sackville-West; and Great Dixter, owned by gardening writer Christopher Lloyd. “I like the wild Edwardian style of garden of the early last century,” says McKnight, who enlisted garden designer and friend Jo Thompson to relandscape his own. “I have roses and peonies in June and July. Then come my English perennials, sunflowers, sweet peas, geraniums, daisies, and dahlias. I grew spinach all winter.” The influence has even begun to creep into his work. “I’ve done a lot of coloured hair over the last few years,year and that comes directly from the colo colours in my garden,” he says.
McKnight’s London garden in March
The Sacai flagship in Tokyo
“I always give my mum a rosebush for her birthday. It’s nice to give a David Austin rose – they’re old English roses.”
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