If anyone can make tweed culottes happen, it is Stella Tennant. Even by the standards of someone who has been Karl Lagerfeld’s muse for two decades, she is having a moment. In the last few months, Tennant has opened the Chanel cruise show in Cuba, starred in the lookbook for the white-hot Balenciaga – and now, with former Vogue editor Isabella Cawdor, relaunched Holland & Holland, the Chanel-owned company that has been making shooting jackets and cashmere cardigans for country-house wardrobes for 181 years.
Right now, most of the fashion industry is waffling on about how many kaftans to pack for a yacht. Meanwhile, as I write this, rain falls steadily. Scotland-dwelling Tennant and Cawdor, however (Borders and Highlands, respectively) understand full well the challenges of dressing for drizzle in June. So, whether or not you are in the market for a weasel-fur gilet to wear for a grouse shoot, the new creative directors of Holland & Holland have some timely advice for looking chic in all weathers.
“I love the functionality of men’s clothing,” says Tennant. “I like clothes you can march out in.” The wide-leg tweed trousers that Tennant was wearing at the launch event were “perfect for striding out down Oxford Street on the way here.” “I have always loved an androgynous look, but I also love how a very feminine woman like Isabella looks even more feminine” in mannish clothes, says Tennant. “If I wear traditional womenswear, I look very middle-aged,” says the fortysomething Vanessa Paradis-lookalike Cawdor. “There’s something much cooler about menswear, now.”
Wear a high collar
The new Holland & Holland collection features storm collars: high and straight, which buckle closed. “These are perfect for tucking your hair in, so you don’t get awful wet frizz,” apparently.
Your first layer should be a silk shirt
The thick, matt fabric of the Holland & Holland silk shirts – which come in a boy-cut, deep-cuffed version or a softer, more feminine blouse – is based on that of men’s dinner shirts. “Silk feels so comfortable next to your skin, and then you can add layers. And when the sun comes out or you go inside, you can take everything else off and be wearing a beautiful shirt.”
Find the perfect V-neck jumper
Not as easy as it sounds. “There’s a V-neck jumper that’s very ordinary, and then there’s a V-neck jumper that’s very considered and special. The difference is the fabric, the neckline, the cuffs, the placement and size of the armholes,” says Cawdor. “Its actually really difficult to achieve a good, classic piece, because there’s nowhere to hide.”
In 2016, function is fashion
This is the year of the catwalk anorak, after all. “The mood in fashion is about clothes that you can be active in,” says Tennant. “These clothes are designed to protect you from the elements, to let you get on with your day, and look good.”
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