For all its theatrical and comic book connotations, the cape is actually a serious and prosaic garment. When it’s cut from a luxe fabric, it can be the perfect final layer to any kind of tailoring, for either gender, and its shape brings the beauty of a textile to the fore. It’s something that Sands & Hall, a new British brand that launched in 2015, is doing for men and women with aplomb.
“We think there is a real gap in the market for that ultimate, iconic cape and that is what we want ours to be,” explains co-founder Sara Hall. “There is no cape equivalent of the Burberry trench, the Louis Vuitton bag or the Louboutin shoe. One of the regular comments we hear from our customers is that they are frequently stopped in the street and asked where they got their cape from.”
Its men’s Blanket capes in Harris tweed (£395, first picture) wouldn’t look out of place on Savile Row. These are smart, stylish men’s garments; the three different colours consist of varying blends of rust and moss, each with a contrasting goat-suede trim. Similar colourways appear in the women’s styles: the Longline cape (£595, second picture), which fastens with a buckle; the draping Throw cape (£325); and the buttoned double-breasted Original cape (£385). There is also a Swing cape (£580) with an A-line silhouette and a buttoned funnel neck, in herringbone Donegal tweed, which would work well with a cashmere rollneck, jeans and high-heeled boots.
The use of British and Irish tweeds, made in relatively small runs by local artisans, is significant. “The history behind these fabrics and how they are manufactured is interesting and exciting,” says Hall. “Each colourway tells a new and different tale about where it is from. We recently visited the mill where the Donegal tweed is made and fell in love with the art of weaving.”
Another fabric Sands & Hall has recently introduced is cashmere, with a luxe, super-soft camel version of the women’s Longline cape (£1,990, third picture). “Instead of using a cashmere mix, I wanted 100 per cent cashmere,” says Hall. “If we are going to do it, we want to do the very best.”