angle of repose
The slower days have passed. Kissed goodbye and
pushed to the back of the closet, waiting for another
season when the sun was warm and buttered on bread.
Things move faster now: an entire month devoured in
one sitting; the Sandman available by appointment only.
In between, there are daydreams of privacy. Solitude
looks exotic, a honeymoon of pillows and thoughts that
dissolve over ice cubes. On the body, escape feels
sensual, like the graceful robes of KRLT Studio.
If they were intended as cover-ups, they would be
made of terrycloth and cling to plainer virtues. But these
are astonishing, a collection of lounging robes crafted
by hand in Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital city. It is a place
that chases the mind in strong gusts—unexpected and
bewitching. You know of it. From a nation with pagan
history, whose ancients celebrated the elements along
the Baltic Sea, there is a glorious tradition of linen,
weaving and embroidery.
When Kristina Dryzaite and Renata Gaidiene met at
the Lithuanian embassy in London six years ago, the
essence of KRLT Studio already existed between them.
A desire to fill in blanks, to embolden a beauty they
knew so well. “Design without a story often becomes
decoration, and we wanted to present the culturally
rich elements of our heritage in a fresh, modern way,”
explains Dryzaite. Their first collection, Inner Space,
offers robes in seven different moods, melting and
enticing as if they were decadent flavors: Rustic,
Peaceful, Fresh, Whimsical, Sassy, Refined, Sexy.
To simply take colors and traditional patterns and
reinvent them as “ethnic chic” would be sloppy, illegible
shorthand marring the margins of this biography.
By delving into archives of the National Gallery of
Lithuania and studying the national costumes of the
country’s folk ensembles, the women framed their
concept for the designs. What emerged is a sumptuous
assemblage, layering the ancestral and immediate. On
the Fresh robe, the crocheted belt takes its inspiration
from a costume headpiece; Sexy recalls a traditional
shirt, reworked with more feminine lines. There are hints
of nature, a blend of emotions and details educing
Lithuania’s textile customs, authenticity in every stitch.
Tracing fingertips across the crocheted trim of
Peaceful, the realization that it required 70 hours of
handiwork to complete rises like soft, incomprehensible
heat. For the sashes, or juostas, there is Anele, who,
with her 73 years, is an expert on national costume and
has hand-loomed the most elegant things imaginable
using ancient methods. She is one of several artisans
and dressmakers KRLT Studio has sought for the creation
of these intimates for the body, so close to the skin and