From Barbour to Holland & Holland, these are the heritage brands you need to be seen in this season
The rain is clearing, the frost is thawing, but yup, winter’s definitely still lingering (in our hearts – hello, ‘Post-Truth’ Age) and in an actual, literal sense. But fittingly for this stiff-upper-lip moment when all we can do is adopt Winston Churchill’s motto and ‘keep buggering on’, there’s some suitably strengthening heritage-wear to sport while doing it.
The AW16 catwalks were a paean to tweeds, checks and outdoor-worthy wear. Warm, yes, but we never knew Argyll tights and corseted wool coats could be so sexy – until we saw Miuccia Prada’s beautiful texture melange, that is.
Prada AW16, above
Gucci AW16, above
First up – Begg & Co scarves. The problem with luxurious traditional cashmere is that often, the styling and design can also look a bit too, ahem, traditional. But no fear here. The company has been weaving scarves and wraps on the Scottish coast in Ayr for 150 years (starting out in Paisley, where they made paisley throws that were used to keep the chill out when riding in horse-drawn carriages), but the designs are totally OTM. So they should be, seeing as the company now manufacture scarves for major fashion brands including Mulberry, Ralph Lauren and Vivienne Westwood (and those are just the brands they’re allowed to name…) The company’s signature cashmere cloth, ‘Arran’, uses spikey dried flower heads called teasels specially grown for them in Italy to brush the surface of the cloth, raising the pile and creating a cloud-soft feel to the fabric. So many patterns and weaves to choose from – but we’re in love with the featherlight Arran Singlee oversized wrap, £395, below.
Barbour, a brand that is basically the fashion embodiment of true British grit, has had a makeover. They’ve been going since 1894 and their water-repellent wax jackets (still manufactured by hand in South Shields) are worn by everyone from the Queen to Alexa Chung. This season, their most iconic jacket styles have given a new spin by the menswear design team and turned into a capsule collection, Womens’ Heritage.
The ‘Border’ and the ‘Bedale’ have been made in new A-line shapes, with cute touches like cuffed sleeves and printed wax outers. Our personal favourite, the Raindrop Border coat, below, is the perfect midi length, with a flattering slim cut – and we know, because we’ve tried it over a chunky jumper and jeans, and we still didn’t look like the Michelin man.
Talking of cashmere, hello Barrie knitwear. The mill in Hawick, Scotland, has been weaving the finest cashmere for over 100 years. They began making knits for Chanel 30 years ago and were recently given long-term security when they were bought by the French house.
The factory has its own training school, where workers are taught the Barrie way over 18 months to ensure they’re up to scratch. They still manufacture for other major fashion brands, but their own recently-launched collection, Barrie Knitwear, is just as fabulous. Creative director Odile Massuger took 80s arcade games as inspiration for AW16, emblazoning knits with graphic motifs, XXL pixels and a starry blue sky in 3D.
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Now, where did we put those corgis?