Margaret Howell brings androgynous fits this SS17.
Killing it Off-Kilter
Something was slightly off-kilter at Margaret Howell’s Spring/Summer 2017 womenswear show in Rambert Hall. Super stylist Beat Bolliger, who has worked with the likes of Edie Campbell, Kim Kardashian, Karlie Kloss and David Beckham, may have had something to do with it. Simple button-down shirts were undone, pulled to one side and slung off the shoulder. The result was effortlessly asymmetrical, an off-centre placket and a cropped front, riding up to flash midriff, one tail tucked in and one out. Seen on basic or boxy styles with extra-wide, cuffed, short sleeves in deckchair stripes, hot pink cotton or gauzy polka-dot chiffon. They were tucked into midi skirts with a delicate tulle layer, or – risque for Howell – tiny knitted knickers complete with tiny little pockets. These ultra-short, ultra-tight hotpants, in burgundy or navy, were worn with oversize shirts and knitted tank tops to look more innocent, fifties Americana than sexy.
The co-ord budgeth not for another season. Howell’s classic navy suits, pleat aplenty and androgynously boxy, were present of course, but updated with three-quarter length trousers. A chambray suit with a three button blazer and voluminous midi skirt was an ode to Dior’s New Look. The same feminine, A-line silhouette was achieved with a red wine taffeta, accordion pleat skirt worn with a matching belt and shirt. Cropped knit cardigans had neat, column skirt counterparts. But, the coolest of the co-ords was a slightly oriental, pyjama style suit with a lounge-luxe feel. Made in a breezy, light grey cotton with cropped trousers, a stand up collar and delicate pearly buttons, worn off the shoulder, of course.
Howell upped her accessories game this season. Belts featured in most looks. Elastic with leather fronts and horsebit buckles, worn over hotpants and knitwear, a traditional trench coat or a neater, navy mac. Or, more utilitarian, with seatbelt like, square buckles that allowed oodles of excess to fall to models’ knees. Some were knotted Japanese obi-style. Handbags were basic but essential leather totes. Shoes were a playful twist on a classic: suede leather cut-out brogues, laced up with double straps to give the appearance of sandals or mules. Although Howell stays true to her elegant traditionalist roots which maintain her loyal following, the injection of more youthful and directional accents to this collection prove she has certainly not lost her know-how.