Scottish cashmere brand Queene and Belle has collaborated with cool stylist-about-town Bay Garnett. “I’ve always admired Bay’s styling,” says Queene and Belle founder and designer Angela Bell. “She has an amazing eye for vintage and really strong ideas, so I thought it would be a nice fit.” The pair have joined forces on a capsule collection of four sweaters reinterpreting items from Garnett’s wardrobe of west London flea-market finds: retro designs with adapted silhouettes that transform each piece into a contemporary classic.
There’s a grey funnelneck jumper (£950) based on a 1980s sweatshirt, the half-zip neck finished off with button fastenings, handstitched in the Queene and Belle studio in Hawick. Then there’s an oversized take on the ever-popular Breton jumper (£865), with a dropped shoulder and gilt antique buttons, and a simple navy Bay sweater (£950) updated by that same oversized shape and a zip at the neck. But it’s the admiral-blue, ribbed commando jumper (£950) – inspired by army surplus and with handstitched navy twill shoulder patches – I hanker for most. “I love military,” Garnett tells me. “I like its androgynous quality and it’s also eternally classic and cool.”
Yarn is sourced from local cashmere spinner Todd & Duncan, supplier to some of the world’s leading couture houses. “Bay wanted the collection to be really luxe-y”, continues Bell. “We’ve used five to six ends of two-fold yarn, so in effect it’s like 10-ply cashmere.” Bell, who has worked in knitwear design for over 25 years, including nine years at Pringle of Scotland, confesses that when she left Hawick to study fashion at Kingston University she didn’t intend to come back. But the pull of family and the Scottish cashmere industry was far too strong. Combining Made in Scotland with Garnett’s brand of Portobello Chic offers both the designer and her customers a taste of both worlds.
Alyson Walsh is the author of Style Forever: The Grown-Up Guide to Looking Fabulous, published by Hardie Grant, £12.99. She blogs as That’s Not My Age. To read more of her How To Spend It columns, click here.