In an industry flooded with pointless, unusual and down right wrong collaborations, I feel that it is tremendously important to celebrate the few good ones that emerge and then duly evolve in to something that goes way beyond publicity. In recent weeks, when it comes to designers collaborating with the high street, most eyes and mouths have been strangely fixated on the gaudy coming together of Versace and H&M. Each to their own and all that but the real shame of it all has been that the fan fare has meant many have overlooked an altogether more agreeable collaboration, Joe Casely-Hayford for John Lewis.
This season sees sees John Lewis unveil its fourth yet first full scale exclusive collection designed by the great Joe Casely-Hayford. Recognised for his innovation and ability to produce definitive future classics, Casely-Hayford's range celebrates the best of British sartorialism through a series of unique collaborations with some of the UK's leading heritage companies. Regular readers will remember how I enthused over the debut thirty piece capsule collection for SS1. I was not the only one who was left with a pulsing heart and a strong desire to splurge. For AWll, Casely-Hayford continues to build on the strong foundations laid in the three previous capsule collections. Having established a strong following through exclusive collaborations with some of the UK’s finest heritage manufacturers, such as Barbour, Liberty and Abraham Moon (more on this Yorkshire mill in an upcoming post), Casely-Hayford continues to celebrate craftsmanship and home-grown British manufacturing by joining forces with new collaborators including the likes of Guernsey, Bonner, Purdey and William Lockie. Through this series of collaborations with specialists and true craftsman, the range showcases unique cloths whilst reintroducing a few updated British classics to the wider audience of the high street.
The collection itself collection takes inspiration from Eric Newby’s seminal travel book, A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush, in which Newby makes an ill-prepared yet legendary journey from his family Couture fashion business in London’s Mayfair to the more remote peaks of the Mir Samir Mountain in Afghanistan. Drawn in by the tale’s lightness and wit, Casely-Hayford has ensured each piece from the collection takes its name from the book. In design terms, the collection follows Newby's narrative, starting out in Mayfar with beautifully tailored English outerwear such as the forgotten classic British Warm Overcoat and the essential Chesterfield, before gradually evolving into more rugged pieces like the new Barbour duffle jacket and the richly coloured Moleskin and Corduroy trousers. Quite the sartorial journey...
Look book shots courtesy of John Lewis
From key seasonal outerwear created out of fabric woven in England by the Abraham Moon Mills in Yorkshire to a great Fair Isle pattern Yoke pullover that is knitted in 100% Wool by crafts people in the Donegal Mountains and shirting showcasing one of the first ever Liberty prints to be digitally created, the collaboration celebrates all that these islands have to offer. Earlier this week I was fortunate enough to be invited to Moon's mill in Guisely to watch fleece transformed in to fabric. It was an amazing experience and I'll be posting an in depth feature on the processes involved early next week. Keep your eyes peeled!