The second of five children, Fassett was born in 1937 in San Francisco, California, to parents William & Madeleine. He is the great-grandson of the wealthy businessman, lawyer and United States Congressman Jacob Sloat Fassett, and it was his great-great grandparents who founded the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, California. He received a scholarship to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston at the age of 19, but shortly left school to paint in London and moved there to live in 1964.
In the late 1960s Fassett met the Scottish fashion designer Bill Gibb, with whom he was in a relationship for a while. Until Gibb's premature death in 1988, they were very close friends and design collaborators, with Fassett creating many of the multicoloured, complex knitwear designs that became one of Gibb's trademarks. When one of Bill Gibb's designs was chosen by Beatrix Miller of Vogue as the 1970 Dress of the Year, the ensemble included a Fassett hand-knitted waistcoat, showing that traditional textile handicrafts had become an acceptable aspect of mainstream fashion. Fassett and Gibb worked together through to the end, collaborating on Gibb's final collection in 1985.
Kaffe Fassett is an American-born artist who is best known for his colourful designs in the decorative arts—needlepoint, patchwork, knitting, painting and ceramics. "Colour is his very medium, whatever the substance he uses." He lives with Brandon Mably: his partner and studio manager since 1990. He is the great-grandson of the wealthy businessman, lawyer and US Congressman Jacob Sloat Fassett, and it was his great-great grandparents who founded the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, California.
Renaissance, Evening coat, 1979 (http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O84084/renaissance-evening-coat-kaffe-fassett/)
The designer Kaffe Fassett used a variety of textured yarns in muted colours to create this magnificent coat. It was hand-knitted by Zoe Hunt. Predominantly worked in stocking stitch, it reveals Fassett’s unorthodox, creative and highly influential approach to design. The shaping of this ankle-length garment with full sleeves draws upon Renaissance and Eastern dress.
Kaffe Fassett was born in San Francisco and came to live in England in 1964. An art student, he did not begin knitting until his late twenties. His early commercial collections were commissioned by Missoni and Bill Gibb.
Fassett typically uses geometric patterns in a rich palette of different hues. He summed up his philosophy of colour in an interview in Vogue Knitting International in 2002: 'Why limit yourself to just one shade of red when you can use 17?'
Fassett's work attracts a considerable following. His work was the subject of a 1988 one-man show at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the first time a living textile artist had such a show there. The show toured nine countries.
Being more concerned with colour and design, Fassett has collaborated with quilter and teacher, Liza Prior Lucy, on the construction side of things since the 1980s. Working as a team has enabled Kaffe to design quilts, fabric, stage sets, and costumes for the Royal Shakespeare Company, while staying engaged in making rag rugs, knitting, tapestries, and mosaics.
Author of more than 30 books, Fassett concentrates on teaching the colour and design stages of craftwork rather than the construction stage. In addition to books, he has hosted craft-related television and radio programmes for the BBC and Channel 4, including his own show, Glorious Colour.
His fabric prints are largely for the patchwork market along with Indian stripes fabric and shot cotton fabric range.
An exhibition of Fassett's quilts, knitting and needlepoint at the Modemuseum Hasselt, Belgium in 2007, followed a multimedia solo show in 2006 at the Prince Eugen's Waldemarsudde, Sweden. He made a workshop tour of Australia and New Zealand.
He is a fabric designer for Rowan Patchwork and Quilting and the primary knitwear designer for Rowan Yarns.
Kaffe Fassett: Dreaming in Color: An Autobiography by Kaffe Fassett
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Stewart, Tabori and Chang (September 15, 2012)
Amazon: Kaffe Fassett: Dreaming in Color: An Autobiography
Kaffe Fassett has led an extraordinary life and is a captivating storyteller with a vivid memory. Born in 1937, he spent much of his youth in Big Sur, California, where his parents bought a cabin from Orson Welles and transformed it into the world-famous Nepenthe restaurant, a gathering place for artists and bohemians. After attending a boarding school run by the disciples of Krishnamurti, an Indian guru, he studied painting at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, then traveled to England, where he made his home. After an inspiring trip to Inverness, Scotland, Fassett began designing knitwear for Bill Gibb, and then the Missonis, Vogue magazine, and private clients like Lauren Bacall and Barbra Streisand, and, in the process, revolutionized the handknitting world with his explosive use of color. Further explorations led him to needlepoint, mosaics, rugmaking, tapestries, yarn and fabric design, costume and set design, and quilting. Now in his seventies, Fassett continues to produce new work and to travel worldwide to teach and lecture. In this intimate autobiography, Fassett shares rich, detailed stories about his lifelong creative journey as well as hundreds of glorious photos taken along the way.
More Fashion Designers at my website: www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Art
More Real Life Romances at my website: www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance
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