December 02 2010
One of the best things about the British winter is cosying up in comforting cashmere. At the seriously high end – of both the market and my Christmas wish list – is, of course, Loro Piana with its fabulously luxe woollies including a Baby Cashmere bomber jacket, while Scottish-produced Brora has become my go-to for less expensive, great-quality sweaters that are classic with a hint of nostalgia.
But for a touch of indulgent cool? I’m heading off (virtually speaking) to Australia, where cashmere has been given a hint of rock’n’roll courtesy of Belynda Macpherson’s two-year-old label Banjo & Matilda. From the chunky-yet-slouchy Surfer Cable Knit turtle-neck jumper (first and second pictures, £299) via the elegantly chic Lady Crew (as in neck) with shirring at the waist and cuffs (£99; sale price) to its wear-anywhere Lounging Pants (£189), the effect is of easy glamour. Signature finishes include extra-long sleeves and rolled hems.
If you’re logging on from wintry climes, be warned: you might feel slightly topsy-turvy as you click on to the warm glow of summer in Oz. Hence you’ll find some arrivals in a new summer “eco” yarn Bamboo Blend (85 per cent bamboo, 15 per cent cashmere) such as the cute, cap-sleeved stripy Driving Cardigan (third picture, £179) and the über-glam, single-shoulder Poolside Maxi Dress (sixth picture, £289). But the warmer stuff’s still there.
Naomi Watts, Claudia Schiffer, Cate Blanchett and, of course, Belynda’s sister-in-law Elle Macpherson are all fans of the brand – Elle designed a (sold-out) limited-edition sweater for Banjo & Matilda, and Natalie Imbruglia has followed with her extra-long “Lucky” Sweater with four-leaf clover design (fourth and fifth pictures, £199); A$100 from each sale goes to the singer/actress’s nominated charity End Fistula Campaign .
Shipping is worldwide (delivery in three to seven days to the UK/US) and the packaging is beyond smart: chocolate-brown boxes, grosgrain ribbon and a drawstring bag in which to store your purchase. So, that’s Christmas – or even midsummer – presents all wrapped up.