“14 years is a long time to be away — in the world of fashion it feels like an eternity. From the astronomical rise of social media to the farce that is British politics, things have changed irrevocably since 2003, when British designer Katharine Hamnett last officially released a collection. Indeed, for the woman who revolutionised the slogan T-shirt from a light-hearted statement piece into something politically charged, there is much to catch up on.”
Read Luisa Le Voguer Couyet’s interview with Katharine on i-D here
Katharine re-visits the archive pieces that have inspired some of the garments in the new Autumn/Winter ’17 collection
Archive Satin Bomber Jacket
“This is the remains of a first prototype for a jacket I produced in 1979 that someone grabbed and has worn to death. It was inspired by an old military jacket that belonged to a boyfriend I had at the time, who I thought was a god. I re-proportioned it slightly all over, added side pockets under the front patch pockets which I thought it needed, and customised the rib cuffs to a more comfortable fit.
It’s been re-issued for Autumn/Winter ’17 as the ‘RAF’ bomber in a recycled polyester, with recycled polyester wadding.”
Double-Breasted Denim Button Through Jacket
“This an original KH reject fabric test sample. This style was conceived as a men’s coat, which was a cross between a duffel coat and a military parka.
The proportions were taken from a duffel and the details were military, with square reinforced buttonholes and a raft of internal utility pockets. The final production fabric was a cotton canvas, and this is the short version.
This season I have remade it for women in padded silk (with recycled polyester wadding) as the ‘Julie’. The ultimate, ultra feminine, cosy, my-boyfriend-is-a-giant, oversized puffa jacket.”
Padded Silk Parka
“I wanted to find a luxurious, sustainable alternative to fur which I think is unbearably cruel – it is one thing to use the skin, a waste/by-product of something that is killed to eat – but a completely different story to kill something just for its fur. Padded silk for me does the trick. This padded silk parka with recycled polyester filling was one of the first garments I produced using this combination in 1983. George Michael had one. It works. I have been skiing in a version with matching padded silk trousers in minus 15 degrees Celsius and was completely warm! It was so light I felt almost naked.
It’s been re-issued this season as the ‘Will’ parka, and follows the same padded silk/recycled polyester filling as before.”
“This sweatshirt was the first one I ever designed. It has an oversized fit and signature incorporated Vs at neckline and cuffs for maximum comfort. It’s been a staple of my collections and has always been a favourite of mine.
This season it has been re-issued for both men and women in 100% organic cotton sweat, and is made in Italy.”
Sunday 20th October 21:00, Cirque D’Hiver, 110 Rue Amelot, Paris 75011
“The thinking behind all of my shows was to represent aspiration as happiness, so as well as beauty it was about fun and sex. I took immense care with every detail, and was totally involved in every aspect, from casting, choice of location, choreography, and the choice of music – which is key – as well as designing the collection. I was hugely fortunate in the fact that we had no outside investors. We were completely independent and had total creative freedom and control.”
– Katharine Hamnett
Legendary British designer Katharine Hamnett CBE is bringing her brand back to market, as now she is finally able to produce it sustainably – a long term desire. Launching via her own online store and, soon, exclusive tie ups with key retailers, the collection is ethically made in Italy under EU employment law, and is as environmentally friendly as possible, using sustainable materials and processes.
Ever committed to ethically sourced materials and production, the menswear collection features relaxed moleskin outerwear, padded silk joggers, jersey adorned with the instantly recognisable Katharine Hamnett London logo, silk shirts with signature oversized pockets, and padded drill cotton parkas. The women’s collection touches on the chic femininity of Katharine’s later collections with a strapless dress, high waisted skirt, and palazzo pants, whilst maintaining the season’s overall utilitarian unisex feel.
Slogan t-shirts are being brought back to where they started: campaigning and consciousness-raising tools for important ethical, environmental, social and political issues. With all of Katharine’s profits going to relevant charities, the slogan t-shirts will sit apart from the Katharine Hamnett London collection.
Launching for Autumn/Winter ’17 exclusively online, the Katharine Hamnett London collection embodies the energy, attitude and essence that made the brand the icon that it is today.
Autumn/Winter ’17 draws influence from Peter Lindbergh’s iconic 1984 ‘line-up’ photo, which for many is the perfect embodiment of the Katharine Hamnett brand: gender-free, ageless, aracial and timeless. By re-working, re-imagining and re-energising the collection that landed Hamnett the first ever Designer of the Year award at the British Fashion Awards, Katharine Hamnett London is as relevant as ever.