My accessory of choice this season isn’t a polished stainless steel Apple Watch, but a simple silk neck scarf. 1970s-inspired scarves appeared in various guises on spring catwalks, from Gucci and Pucci to Saint Laurent Paris, and for me the timing couldn’t be better. I’ve reached a point where I feel self-conscious about my neck, so summer’s pleasing silk scarf trend is fortunate indeed. I do like it when fashion and function coalesce.
I’m approaching this trend with great gusto and have gone from naught to near double figures in a matter of weeks. Accessories designer Sophie Hulme’s collection for Liberty is a particular favourite – both the navy spirograph charm repeat silk scarf and the pink windowpane check silk scarf (both £190, second picture) are gorgeous and the perfect complement to navy tailoring. Anya Hindmarch’s small googly-eyed Nocturnal neon-orange silk scarf (£95, third picture) is fun, but be prepared to join a waiting list. For that retro 1970s feel, Jane Carr’s python-print silk petite foulard (£110, first picture) is the perfect choice and would look stunning with a tan suede jacket.
My preferred way to wear a scarf right now is neckerchief style. The last time I embraced this jaunty look was as a teenage Debbie Harry fan with a bandana and a second-hand biker jacket. Since then, vintage leather has been upgraded to Isabel Marant, and for a modern update on the neckerchief I’ve been looking at Margaret Howell’s two-colour spot silk scarf (£75, fourth picture), Sunspel’s Liberty-print cotton small square scarf (£45) and Emma J Shipley’s Amazon silk scarf (£265, fifth picture).
For inspiration on how to tie the knot, Helen David’s website The Scarf Gallery, “a place where art and fashion meet”, has a fantastic video showing “25 ways to wear a scarf in 4.5 minutes” by a blogger called Wendy’s Lookbook. To a born-again scarf wearer like myself, this feels like time well spent. David was co-founder of 1980s fashion label English Eccentrics, and after more than 30 years in industry has curated an online gallery of artists’ work, including her own beautiful Japanese Roses designs (£165, sixth picture) and those by paper-cut specialist Rob Ryan – his turquoise scarf And Most of All They Need Love (£95, seventh picture) is a highlight. “For me a square neck scarf is a wearable canvas,” says David, “a wonderful place to delight in colour on fluid silk and to express anything from a detailed drawing to a paper-cut print to a painterly abstract.” She couldn’t be more right.