August 31 2011
Perhaps emboldened by the new spotlight thrown on her after several very successful commissions for the Duchess of Cambridge – a silver-grey summer coat (the Buxton) with an embroidered midriff comes to mind – made-to-measure tailoring designer Katherine Hooker is taking her game to a new level. Known for the wide variety of tweeds and trims in sumptuous colours that adorn the walls of her shop and atelier off the far end of London’s King’s Road, and for the wonderfully flattering fit of her jackets and coats, she has now added a small range of very luxurious, cashmere-mix fabrics from Johnstons of Elgin, one of Scotland’s premier mills.
She had already worked with Johnstons on items in its Heritage tweed, but felt that this particular mix – of cashmere with fine merino – had the softness that she wanted for her latest, less structured styles, in particular the slightly 1950s-inspired Jackson coat and the one-button Tallulah jacket which, though fitted, is soft enough to be worn casually. Made-to-measure entails a by-appointment fitting at Hooker’s atelier using standard-size samples, which are adjusted by her highly skilled fitters to your exact measurements, and then your jacket is made in London, using that template, in about four weeks, from the fabric of of your choice.
It is not couture worked from a toile, but the prices reflect that – the Jackson in cashmere mix is £1,095, the Tallulah £970. There are currently four colour choices on the cashmere mix and a wide variety of silk trims for edging and linings. The Johnstons fabric can also be used for any other design in Hooker’s range. Anyone unable to get to the atelier (or one of the fairs she shows at – see her website for venues) will soon be able to enjoy the ready-to-wear collection – same shapes, quality tweeds, prices about 30 per cent lower – online, when her e-commerce site goes live in late September.