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Joan Vass: The Woman Who Broke Every Rule


In the world of fashion, there are those who follow trends and then there are those who set them. Joan Vass belongs to the latter category. With a unique background in philosophy and aesthetics, Joan ventured into the art world and made a name for herself by breaking every rule along the way.

Early Career

Joan Vass started her journey in the art world as an assistant curator of drawing and prints at the renowned Museum of Modern Art. Her deep appreciation for art led her to further explore the creative realm by editing art for Harry N. Abrams and contributing as a columnist for Art in America. These experiences exposed her to different forms of artistic expression and helped shape her own creative vision.

Discovery of Hand Knits & Crochets

During her time working in the art world, Joan Vass stumbled upon a hidden passion for hand knits and crochets. Intrigued by the artistry and craftsmanship involved, she delved deeper into this traditional craft. Recognizing the potential to merge her artistic background with textile design, Joan decided to incorporate hand knits and crochets into her repertoire.

The Breakthrough

Joan Vass's foray into the world of hand knits and crochets proved to be a turning point in her career. She sought the skills of local women who possessed expertise in these crafts and collaborated with them to bring her designs to life. Her first collection, which consisted of hats and mufflers, caught the attention of Henri Bendel, a renowned arbiter of fashion. The collection sold out rapidly, marking the shift in Joan's career from an observer of art to a creator of art.

The Joan Vass Collection

Drawing on the rich tradition of luxurious knitwear, Joan Vass established her own collection over 30 years ago. Her designs are known for their understated elegance, combining classic silhouettes with fabrics that provide comfort and luxury. Soft silk cashmere sweaters, multidimensional knit jacquards, jerseys, and interlocks are styled in ways that pay homage to Joan Vass's unique aesthetic.

Joan Vass's Unique Approach

What sets Joan Vass apart is her distinctive approach to fashion. She believes in eliminating the excess, focusing on creating timeless and seasonless pieces that transcend fleeting trends. By embracing simplicity and refining her designs, she offers a collection that speaks to the quintessential modern woman. Joan Vass's philosophy resonates with those who seek understated sophistication and appreciate the enduring appeal of well-crafted garments.

Throughout her career, Joan Vass has received numerous accolades for her contributions to the fashion industry. Her innovative approach earned her the Extraordinary Woman In Fashion Award from the Smithsonian Institute, the Coty American Fashion Critics Award, and the Prince Machiavelli Prix de Cachet Award. These recognitions not only validate her unique vision but also cement her status as a trailblazer in the world of fashion.


Joan Vass's journey from the art world to the realm of fashion is a testament to her creativity and fearlessness in breaking conventions. By harnessing her knowledge of philosophy and aesthetics, she has crafted a collection that celebrates the beauty of simplicity and timelessness. Joan Vass's designs continue to captivate the modern woman who seeks elegance without compromising comfort and style.

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