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Lemuria
Shape-shifting experimental knitwear from a family-run Italian label
by Paolo Ferrarini
on 31 March 2010
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The mythical land Lemuria is a lost continent whose inhabitants were mentally pure hermaphrodites, ethereal spirits, and able to shape their bodies using only their minds. The knitwear project bearing the same name reflects the spirit of the vanished land, with each single piece organically transforming into multiple new shapes and styles. The Tuta Mucca dress from the current Libero Arbitrio collection easily goes from a strapless harem pants singlet to a longsleeve dress depending on how it's worn, with six combinations in all.

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The origin of the family-run business also has a unique story. Founder Susanna Gioia tells CH that over the past several decades Lemuria "has been producing knitwear for all the leading Italian fashion houses, working with 30 local families. Unfortunately many of the big names are moving production abroad or have radically changed their budgets. So we have bravely decided to apply our knowledge into an experimental project." Fortunately the experiment succeeded and worldwide recognition followed, with acknowledgment from Vogue to The Independent.

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Made in Italy, the quality of Lemuria clothes is absolute. Holding and touching them is quite an experience, because of their softness and steadiness, but also because they appear to be designed for aliens with three or more sleeves, geometric shapes, asymmetries and overall strange cuts. Gioia acknowledges that at first it can seem complex "but every piece comes with a DVD full of video tutorials explaining in the simplest way how to use them."

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