– Posted by Caroline
For Autumn/Winter '16, Sara (founder and creative director) was keen to evoke a sense of decadence and romance. Her inspiration came from fictional heroines, historical fashionistas and the indulgent fabrics, embellishments, prints and colour combinations of centuries past.
This urged me to excitedly trawl the archives, revisiting classic prints and symbols, yet challenging myself to recreate them in a sleek, modern way.
The fleur-de-lys symbol was a favourite of Sara's while brainstorming. We were taking great inspiration from historical heroines like Marie Antoinette, and the heraldic fleur-de-lys meaning 'Lily Flower' was used heavily throughout French history in both fashion and interior prints, so was the perfect choice of motif.
Sara also wanted to focus on intricately hand-drawn prints this season and so she asked me to sketch a fleur-de-lys motif from scratch. We both loved the effect of inverting the colours so that the lighter pen lines and watercolour stood out on a rich backdrop. I decided on a sketched style motif using both graphite and ink to give a weathered feel in keeping with our nostalgic theme.
Our colour ways were decided fairly early on in the design process, and were heavily influenced by the incredible costumes in the recent Cinderella film. We were obsessed with the lavish use of metallics and luxurious colour combinations.
We opted for contrasting palettes, with an early Autumn combination of powder blue & platinum used for the Blythe womenswear dress and the Darcy maternity dress. We then move to a more sultry palette of navy and gold for the Lottie silk blouse (available in October). It's these bold colour combinations which anchor the collection firmly in the present, but salute the history which inspired us.
The powder blue & platinum combination appears early in the season as a transitional palette leading us from late Summer into early Autumn.
As the nights draw in, we add more warmth and depth to the print colours, choosing dark navy and gold for a striking contrast.
Sara wears the Blythe dress to a Houses of Parliament function and in her signature style, pairs it with a pair of emerald green satin heels. Perfection!
(Caroline Taylor, in-house print designer, Madderson London)