Capitol Contributor: Maria Dora
Making knitwear “functional” and “sentimental.”
Everyone understands the appeal of the perfect sweater and its soft, maternal embrace—especially Los Angeles-based designer Maria Dora. “Knitwear is a very personal thing,” she says of her own vocation to construct unique silhouettes from wools, braided yarn and materials like leather, plastic and even metal. Dora, who apprenticed with masters of macramé Ohne Titel and with JC Obando, also creates delicate templates that overlay the anatomy like an artful web. “My aesthetic is pretty nomadic in origin,” she says. “But it’s grounded in minimal shape and volume.”
For the cowl worn by Katniss, Dora collaborated with Capitol costume designer Trish Summerville—and Cinna, of course. The piece, which was inspired by Dora’s first knitwear collection, needed to move with the stealthy Victor who’s know for her hunting skills. “As a designer, you always imagine a complex and magnetic heroine in your clothes, so seeing Katniss is a surreal experience,” she says. The cowl was woven entirely by hand and it took two people several weeks to knit it.
Right now, Dora is focused on directional ribbing for a linear effect and experimenting with chain mail and metal rings that need to be woven in by hand. Her next collection is an exclusive line for the chic “Japanese Fashion Museum” and retail revolution known as Isetan Park. For inspiration, the designer looks beyond the immediate horizon. “There’s something romantic and exciting about the notion of a new frontier,” says Dora, whose outside of the Capitol fans include Nicole Richie and Miley Cyrus. “From the Wild West to the Aran Isles, I always fall in love with the people at the edge of civilization.”
Check out Maria Dora’s blog to see what inspires her day to day, from diamond cuts to Helmut Newton photographs.