The simple pleasure of Margaret Howell SS21

The new fashion era we are entering for the SS21 season of shows may not suit everyone, but after a walk through quiet central London on a sunny September morning and a talk with Margaret Howell herself about their new collection, it’s clear there are some benefits to this new world order. Margaret creates clothes that resonate; they have tenderness and toughness to them, a practicality and a poetry. Margaret explained she didn’t particularly miss doing a show, and you can imagine quite a lot of designers won’t mind having a season anchored by something other than the melee and drama of the catwalk. Especially, Margaret said, as her design is so much about continual evolution rather than revolution — time doesn’t oscillate so much season-to-season but rather fold back in on itself. They’ve used some of the same suppliers for decades now, building intimate relationships with them. The cut of the jackets, the details and colours are all continually revisited and reworked, and one of Margaret’s first parkas makes an appearance here, as does an old spot print. But the collection remains contemporary and modern. Margaret does the simplest of things — which, paradoxically, is one of the hardest things to do — in creating wearable and wantable garments that are not big or showy or stupid. There’s a purity to it. Of course, this will all stand Margaret in good stead during our current, and seemingly endless, WFH situation — a time which prioritises comfort, ease and beauty over unwarranted novelty. And this is precisely what Margaret, season after season, has always done so exceedingly well. Credits All images courtesy Margaret Howell

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