Bill Cosby as Cliff Huxtable, with on-screen son Theo
It may have ended in 1992, but The Cosby Show
remains one of television’s greatest ever hits. Who hasn’t, at some point over the years, come across an episode of the show about the chaotic lives of a New York City dwelling family of charismatic African Americans?
It was an ensemble piece – two parents, five kids and their assorted partners, friends and children all involved in their own dramas and laughs, yet mention the series to most people and they will remember but one thing only, the loud signature sweaters of patriarch Cliff, played by the show’s namesake, Bill Cosby.
Cosby modelling a couple of his signature sweaters
In fact, to say ‘Cosby sweater’ (seriously, Google it) conjures up images of classic knitwear designs splashed with gaudy patterns or bright swatches of colour. To be so synonymous with one piece is quite the sartorial accolade (just ask Anna Wintour and her sunglasses or Coco Chanel and her little black dress), and whether it’s this admiration or just a desire to deviate away from the usual gloomy Winter knits, designers have chosen to populate their A/W 12 collections with a number of sweaters that could have been pilfered right from the wardrobe of Dr Cliff Huxtable.
3.1 Phillip Lim A/W 12
In fact one 3.1 Phillip Lim
number from this season isn’t so much a homage as a more stylish replica – a geometric patterned number in various shades of blue that is artfully over-sized on the catwalk model but would snugly fit Mr Cosby.
Young fashion darling Joseph Altuzarra
also took cues from bold motifs and fused them with a calmer, more fashion friendly palette of black and grey for surely one of the Autumn’s most covetable jumpers.
Altuzarra A/W 12
And it wasn’t just American designers looking to reference their country’s pop-culture history, Europeans too, Sonia Rykiel
and J.W. Anderson
among them embraced the crazy colours and splashy visuals.
There are few trends that encourage warmth or comfort when wearing them, so the cosy qualities of the statement sweater make it an excellent look to invest in – you’re not going to spend the whole day quietly counting down the minutes until you can take it off for one thing, and simply by throwing one on over jeans will instantly update your outfit.
Some people might call Cosby’s sweaters garish but the whole point of fashion is using it as a way to express yourself. As Cosby himself once said, ‘decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it’, so let your imagine run riot with the wildest design that catches your eye and go for it!