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Q&A: Natalie Joos on starting her retro-chic knitwear line and nailing the perfect fit

Click through Phil Oh or Tommy Ton’s galleries of street style shots and inevitably, fashion consultant Natalie Joos‘ eye-popping, vintage-edged ensemble will come into view at one point. Since the first waves of street style mania, Joos was already a mainstay with her popular blog Tales of Endearment. One of the few early bloggers who got it right, she counts the likes of late writer Glenn O’Brien and acclaimed fashion photographer Craig McDean as former mentors.

Starting her own vintage-inspired namesake label has been a long time coming. In 2015, she launched an e-commerce extension to her blog, Tales of Vintage — selling vintage troves out of Scandinavian dead-stock and her personal collection. Now with the launch of Joos Tricot, the multi-hyphenate can add designer to her ever-growing resume.

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Natalie Joos. (Photo: @jxxsy)

You’d think a style savant like Joos wouldn’t have any trouble finding her wardrobe staples, but Joos Tricot was actually borne out of her prolonged sartorial distress. “There is only so much a person can take before she snaps. I have been searching for a fitted, scarlet red, crewneck sweater for forty years and never, ever found one,” said Joos.

Her solution to that? Start her own trans-seasonal knitwear label. Her see-now-buy-now retro sweaters come in three styles — turtleneck, long-sleeved crewneck, and short-sleeved crewneck — in 18 different colours and patterns that include burnt sienna to eclectic stripes reminiscent of ’70s TV screens. Not limited to basics, her Resort selection sees a floral hoodie as well as Victorian ruffles in the form of a mini dress and a top. Threaded with a blend of luxe cotton, silk and Italian lurex yarns, these soft “peach skin” pieces are perfect for year-round wear. No sweat.

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Joos Tricot FW17.

Best of all, Joos and her team did their research to have their knitwear fit like a glove. And if you champion the #freethenipple movement, you can wear them on bare skin sans the unflattering, droopy silhouette. “Unlike most sweaters, mine have waists, so they contour the female body,” added Joos, “You could do cartwheels in them they don’t budge. They’re dense and compact, so they can be worn without a bra!”

Which explains why Joos went on as far as offering Kim Kardashian her custom-made beige (Kim’s favourite colour, duh) crew neck sweater on Instagram. Fitting her slender figure and guaranteeing it would Kim’s too, that also means her pieces are formulated to fit all body types.

Before the massive worldwide drop of Joos Tricot this month — is still in the works, but you can grab yours soon from Net-a-Porter, Matches Fashion, Moda Operandi, or Barneys — we asked Joos everything you need to know about her label.

What was your point of entry into fashion?

I moved to NYC in 1997 to do public relations for a designer. That job didn’t last long because I got picked up to assist Glenn O’Brien, who in turn introduced me to his agent. She also represented a young fashion photographer named Craig McDean, whose studio I eventually managed for the next six years.

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Joos Tricot Resort 2017.
What made you start your own knitwear label?

Every Fall I suffer the same predicament: Where to find a slim fitting turtleneck that smoothly tucks into my jeans and high waisted skirts, hugs my body in all the right places and makes me feel sexy, sophisticated and comfortable. I will run to every department store, feverishly combing all the designer floors for the right sweater and come up with a disappointing black or grey. Or, find exciting little vintage numbers that look great but don’t fit or feel right. Needless to say, I am exhausted. So I ended the torment by making my own

Made in LA, is Joos Tricot suitable for warm-weather wear, too?

The yarn is a combination of silk, cotton and nylon that’s very stretchy. It breathes well and it’s light. I like to think LA is the perfect environment because it’s non-seasonal.

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“Dear @kimkardashian I hear you like beige. May I send you one of our amazing @joostricot sweaters? Softest, most perfectly fitting thing you will ever wear. I promise ????????,” says Natalie Joos in her Instagram caption.
What makes Joos Tricot's feel and fit perfect?

We worked a year on perfecting the fit. Knitwear is a complicated beast. It’s all technical. I wanted them to be flattering, sexy, soft, and comfortable. I work with two wonderful technical designers, who knew how to execute exactly that. The fit is perfect because it stretches in all the right places and hugs your body without pushing or pulling. The sweaters don’t ride up either.

What inspires your retro-chic designs?

I am just making designs I would like to wear, and that I know my vintage-loving fans and friends would like to wear.

Which Joos Tricot piece is your personal favourite?

I love the new ruffle top and dress we made for the Resort collection. It’s the sexiest, cutest thing you’ll ever see. Boys, watch out!

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Joos’ favourite ruffle top and dress from Resort 2017.
What's next for Joos Tricot?

We are gradually experimenting with new yarns and styles. We may have a skirt for SS18!

Complete the sentence:

My style muse is… the ’70s babe
Sugar or spice? Sugar
Spring, summer, fall or winter? Summer
My guilty pleasure is… gummy worms
I can’t live without… music
If I were born a Kardashian, I’d be… giving more money to charity
The most unexpected place I’d wear my Joos Tricot apparel to is… in bed

(Lookbook images: Felix Wong)

Q&A: Natalie Joos on starting her retro-chic knitwear line and nailing the perfect fit

Bianca Husodo

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