Margaret Howell did Parisian Chic and casual work-wear perfectly in her SS16 womenswear show.
The rare quality of striking the perfect balance between simplicity and sophistication is often attributed to the Parisians, and Margaret Howell. This season, Howell has played on this and produced a somewhat obviously French feeling in the SS16 collection: the entire line stuck to a simple colour palette of red, white, navy and black. Howell’s trademark casual tailoring was added to with fine details such as a silk neckerchief, which really cemented the Parisian, easy-elegance look. The city shorts were cut beautifully: super high waist with roomy pockets and a longer A-line cut for flattering the leg while maintaining youthfulness. The shorts came in three staple colours, red, white and navy, and were worn on the catwalk each time with a matching coloured short sleeved, 4 button shirt. The red on red and white on white looked surprisingly stylish. The collection was all about summer in the city: cool cotton and linen fabrics with the loose fit tailoring, paired with strappy flat sandals.
This summer in the city look is often a smart one, which transitions from workwear to nightwear so easily – Howell ticked all these boxes. The paper-bag, belted trousers with pleated detailing and super pressed silhouette were made casual with the choice of a rough linen. The classic, crisp white shirt was made playful with different sleeve lengths, different collars (from camp style to tiny style), hoods, and even in the form of an A line dress belted. Typical knitwear styles were present in the theme of workwear, but again experimented with to modernise the old frumpy classics. A turtle neck cropped with mid-length sleeves, worn open with one button secured at the neck for a swing style, and Wonderland’s favourite, the cardigan made surprisingly sexy unbuttoned from the bust onwards, one half tucked into to white cigarette pants with a slither of stomach showing.
Mixing it up
Howell experimented with other colours beyond her staples. A knitted brown sweater vest worn over a white shirt tapped into the chic in geek. Outerwear was simple but effective: beige and navy macs were to be expected but the clear rain mac was a winner simply for paying homage to the rain poncho in such a stylish way. Howell threw in one denim piece, a classic jacket that lacked congruence with the rest of the line. However, when paired with matching trousers in the same shade of denim the jacket became interesting, and the oversized turn-ups (as seen on many of the guests at the show) may well be a trend to watch.
Photographer: Thurstan Redding
Words: Abigail Southan