Aquascutum’s Autumn/Winter 2007 menswear collection is inspired by the connection of art and nature and the company origins in military outerwear, designed to protect soldiers from the inclement British weather.
GIVEN free rein to create something stunning to put Aquascutum into the realms of fashion's superpowers, menswear designer Graham Fidler and womenswear designer Michael Hertz clearly revelled in the task. There was a buzz before the show, in a gaping warehouse above the Trocadero accessed via a large clanking steel lift, as if we were about to see something important. The new label – known as Aquascutum as opposed to the original line, Aquascutum London, which launched in 1851 – is about classic English pieces moulded by the quintessential British talent for innovative draping and cut. Gorgeous silk jackets were shrunk to a stiff, curvy fit, frothy lace dresses had layered bustles beneath their skirts and large men's trench coats had been cleverly tailored down to flatter the models' slim frames. It was the best of British in terms of quality with lustrous brocade, lace, silk and wool making up pieces that threatened to damage fashionable bank accounts. However, with Herz's threat in mind that the new line "will ensure that Aquascutum is still around in another 150 years," they're worth every penny.
Aquascutum’s Head of Design for Menswear,Graeme Fidler,took inspiration from the works of British artists Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, who both constructed sculptures to sit sensitively within natural surroundings, reflecting and complementing nature.
Fidler also researched Aquascutum’s archive from its very origins when its founder, John Emary, was commissioned to design outerwear for the soldiers in the trenches of the Crimean War.
The trench coat which resulted has inspired Fidler to create a modern collection of trenches that include a pea coat style in an exclusive wool melton in a marled light slate grey; the ‘Bladon’ double- breasted trench, a new shape which has a detachable chevron quilted lining, with military details such as D-rings on the belt, storm guards and throat tabs; and the ‘Tomkin’, a single-breasted short mac’ offering a modern, youthful take on the classic ‘Aquamac’ packaway. The traditional ‘Derby’ coat is re-proportioned for today, with a velvet top collar in wool gabardine and a mink cashmere wool.
An innovative seam-sealed programme includes a company-developed mini dogtooth wool coat with applied waterproof breathable coating on the reverse of the cloth and seam-sealed, developed with Loro Piana ‘Storm System’ technology; and three double-cotton garments with waterproof breathable laminate and fully seam-sealed, providing a very traditional waterproof offering.
Tailored separates are highlighted by a velvet peak lapel two-button jacket in a mink beige or black; two traditional tweed fabrics with a contemporary edge developed exclusively by Aquascutum in two and three-piece separates: and a Donegal simple tweed in lovat and classic black/white/grey or a mini dogtooth in shades of brown.
The tailoring line includes a single-breasted two-buttoned notch in an array of fabric offerings from super 150s merino wool to exclusively-developed silk wools; a classic British Prince of Wales flannel and a chalk stripe flannel.
The designers have concentrated on modernizing the shirt block to deliver two fits: slim and standard. The shirt collection offers the complete spectrum from a very classic collar with standard fit and turn-back French cuffs and a classic Sea Island pure white crisp cotton shirt to a darted, fitted concealed placket, small-collared shirt which is suitably modern and youthful. Shirtings come in vibrant mini ginghams in a pale blue and a cerise.
A luxury two-fold Super 140s shirt option completes the collection. The tie collection is once again taken from archive military influences and includes regimental stripes and miniature designs from the Aquascutum archive.
The fabrics used place an emphasis on texture and concentrate on weaves, jacquards and structures of cloth. Some cloths take on a vintage feel to work with modern shapes and the use of natural trims such as horn and leather.