Margaret Howell's SS14 collection at London Fashion Week brought a refreshing atmosphere of pragmatism, enduring quality and humble lightness. Howell known for her contemporary, independent-minded, work-wear separates, clean lines and soft colours received a loud cheer and a standing ovation at the end of her show. Many of the cotton shirts, cargo trousers, gabardine raincoats, loose sweaters, unstructured tweed jackets and flat leather shoes were based on a palette of chambray and white.
The checked shirts and waisted skirts could easily be worn on a sunday morning stroll on the Hampstead heath (London). Howell is different. She used make-up free models, most of them to my delight were freckled face (I embraced my freckles later on in life !). They were plain, a bit tom-boy ish wearing long grey swaying skirts, apron-like dresses and charcoal coloured jumpers.
She did not opt for bold colours or new materials and effectively presented an array of low-collared shirts, nightshirts as well as panama hats. Many bloggers called her collection a 'small revolution' for me it was bringing us back to basics; rejecting the opulent grandeur and the allure of de luxe. A quiet form of rebellion in the fashion industry. It resonated with the a landmark in our history, European history based on the rejection of the splendour and bling of the Roman Catholic church and a push by the Protestant Lutherans (or which ever denomination derived from the Northern Germanic lands) to maintain accessibility for all, to uphold minimalism, fairness, merit and quietness. Perhaps her collection is reflected in contemporary Europe with Italy's fall and Germany's economic resilience. Overall Howell's collection was unforgiving, subtle and chilled out. We are proud of this British designer whose trademark is about aligning clear vision with proportion, good fabrics and fine cuts.