FashionMargaret Howell Spring 2023 Ready-to-Wear

Margaret Howell Spring 2023 Ready-to-Wear

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The lookbook and video accompanying Margaret Howell’s collection this season found the designer in a particularly spirited mood. The bread and butter staples of her relaxed but impeccably crafted offering were all present and correct, but with the help of her long-time stylist Beat Bolliger, there was a touch of something playfully off-kilter too: the lip of a shirt collar peeking over the top of a thick jersey vest; a shirt with a neckerchief attached that poked out at an angle; tops only loosely tucked into trousers to reveal an unexpected flash of torso. At 76, Howell remains the doyenne of relaxed British tailoring, but the youthful spirit of her clothes is ever-present.

As always, these were tactile clothes that rewarded being seen up close; to be touched and turned over to reveal the extraordinary craftsmanship that underpins them. Revisiting pieces from the brand’s extensive archives, Howell and her design team gently updated a handful of her staples—boxy knitwear, bomber jackets, crisp white shirting—by exaggerating the proportions, with trousers for men featuring a carefully considered slouch, and women’s trousers coming in navy pinstripes and refreshing plaster whites, but cinched or elasticated at the waist for ease of wear. The subtle but seductive color palette cycled through Howell’s beloved earth tones of burnt sienna and chocolatey browns, as well as a particularly eye-catching shade of moss green on knitwear.

Most intriguing, perhaps, was the latest chapter of Howell’s collaboration with Fred Perry. First debuting in 2018 with a tennis-inspired collection that meshed their worlds surprisingly seamlessly, they returned this time around with a series of butter-soft knit polos, track pants with zip details, and jersey sweater vests the color of orange peel. While she may not be historically known for sportswear, Howell’s broader emphasis on comfort ensures these two worlds dovetail more neatly than you might expect. Browsing through the racks of clothes that intermingled Howell’s mainline and her popular MHL diffusion, it wasn’t hard to envision some of the sportier Fred Perry pieces being thrown into the mix too—all worn with an ease that reflects Howell’s very British brand of cool. As Howell well knows, after all, slow and steady wins the race.

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