At the recent Paris couture shows, it was the guests arriving in the middle of a snowstorm wearing cashmere beanies and great coats that made my best-dressed list. But now that the sale stock has been cleared and winter collections replaced by spring, is it possible to find simple, knitted cashmere accessories during a cold snap? I’m thinking of hats, gloves and scarves that will cover both exposed areas and style status.
Knitwear designer Jo Gordon, known for her patterned, supersized scarves in outstanding colour combinations, is about to relaunch her website and introduce a core collection, available all year round. “People love the classic items such as our lovely big cashmere wraps and brushed lambswool scarves. The latter are some of our bestsellers – knitted, washed, steamed and then brushed, they feel like someone giving you a hug – and they should be obtainable all the time.” Gordon’s popular, knitted neckerchiefs intended to “emulate the look of a beautiful silk scarf but in very fine, cosy lambswool so they’re easy to fold into a triangle and tie around your neck” offer an alternative neck-warming solution.
Begg & Co is another noteworthy “Made in Scotland” knitwear brand with a perennial core collection. The weaving company, founded in Paisley in 1866 by Alex Begg, relocated to Ayr on the southwest coast in 1902 and now produces both woven and knitted goods. The ribbed cashmere Alex beanie (£115) is available in seven colourways and can be “folded up or rolled down to cover the tips of the ears”. Lightweight cashmere scarves such as the Kishorn Washed (£280) are easy to wear, whatever the season. Crafted from a 65/35 blend of cashmere and silk, the Staffa oversized scarf (£190) has an open “twill weave” construction and is available in 21 shades, from rainbow brights to colours more frequently associated with the Scottish landscape, such as granite grey, bark brown and dark emerald green.
Then, of course, there are Johnstons of Elgin’s classic cashmere stoles and scarves, in a range of tartans or 11 solid colours, and available throughout the year. I’m particularly keen on the Hessian Dress Stewart stole (£379) in a chic black, grey and yellow tartan and the classic cashmere stole (£379) in camel.
And it is possible to find cashmere accessories designed and made in London. I discovered Lou Dungate via the Young British Designers website. The self-taught hand-knitter founded the award-winning wool shop The Knit Club, going on to launch her eponymous business in 2016. Dungate embraces slow fashion using fully fashioned machines and yarns sourced from ethically and environmentally committed mills. According to the designer, the core range of simple, luxurious, cashmere hats and oversized scarves “doesn’t change much” but it is created in London city’s first knitwear factory for 80 years. A fine example of her work is the Mowbray oversized scarf (£345), available via the Young British Designers online shop.