One year on from its seductive debut, Becky French took her place at the NEWGEN MEN and Fashion Installations for the third consecutive season to unveil her latest collection of innovative neckwear as Marwood. For its hattrick appearance, French approached sculptor and furniture designer Greg Cox to create a bespoke unit to display the collection that wonderfully echoed the signature ‘staircase’ tipping cloth used in all Marwood neckwear. As in previous seasons, this is a true celebration of quality fabrics, interesting textures and the best of British craftsmanship. It was a pleasure to discover deep inside the East Wing of Somerset House.
Entitled 'Split Screen,' French looked to the filming technique that allows the visible division of the screen to provide a seamless view of two realities or perspective and drew inspiration from a couple of the ‘Asakusa Portraits’ by Hiroh Kitai. Over the past two decades, Kikai has created an extensive and unforgettable series of street portraits from the enormous flow of people passing through a Tokyo district that embraces a stubbornly independent popular culture that encompasses traditional comedy theatre and houses of erotic entertainment. Drawn in to Kikai's snapshots, unusual proportions, textures and experimentation then became the foundation for creating the new range of Marwood neckwear. After manipulating portraits and patterns with cuts and folds and applying the split screen technique, the new vertical split designs were created and achieved by technical Jacquards.
The result and mood for AW12 is a spectrum of early twentieth century eccentricity and modern day rustic luxury. Lurex yarns woven in with English wool, honeycomb graphics, jewel coloured slubby silks and the new seasonal Marwood lace featuring a historic crest motif make up this ever growing and ever more diverse neckwear offering. However, as in previous collections, 'Split Screen' allows the wearer unique and playful options for those infrequent yet important special events as well as everyday attire. Everyday could and indeed should be a time for Marwood. To inspire you on this grey Saturday morning, I'd like to share the Eddie Jacob shot and Hanna Kelifa styled look book alongside a few of my own shots from Menswear Day...
AW12 lookbook shot by Eddie Jacob and styled by Hanna Kelifa
The season also saw the unveiling of a useful collaboration with illustrator Sam Kerr. French worked with Kerr to create a soon-to-be fully series of 'How to…' posters. Having come across many instructions for tying a bow tie, Marwood decided to create their own. The technique is a craft in itself and one that everyone is proud to use, when they know it. This season shares the first two posters… “how to tie your bow tie” and “how to box your tie”. Ties are delicate objects and these posters encourage a sense of care and pride in caring for your tie. There will be more projects to come with Sam Kerr including the production of limited edition screen prints and I'm sure the first of the 'How To...' series will whet your appetite for more....
In the curious world of fashion blogging with the fanfare of collection unveilings, product launches and so much more, time almost becomes meaningless. There is little opportunity to sit and take stock because the incessant conveyor belt of images and accompanying sound bites just does not allow reflection. At the beginning of last year, thanks to an enthused tip from b Store's very own Matthew Murphy, I stumbled upon the intricately spun laced world of Becky French's Marwood. One year from its acclaimed debut, we should take the time to toast the considered and thoroughly well deserved rise of this innovative neckwear brand. Its debut collection for AW11 showcased a beautifully crafted range of ties and bow ties made with the finest fabrics such as woven silk, wool and traditional English Leavers lace. Modern and highly considered, Marwood created a range of neckwear that celebrated the traditions and techniques of a rich and distinguished heritage and made use of the most skilled, historic factories and fabric mills across the UK. The Marwood approach is to create products that ignite excitement from discovering something new and unusual, whilst maintaining a strong sense of tradition. We, along with man, fell for its obvious charm. Having gained international stockists including b Store, Barneys, Harvey Nichols (HK) and Tomorrowland in Japan to name just a handful, the rise of Marwood demonstrates that although times are tough, brands with a strong concept and product can still prosper.