Tweed never really goes out of style, what with it being a traditional autumn staple, super-durable, inherently good-looking and all that, but sometimes, as with other fabrics, it is taken up and seen in a new and unexpected light.
And that is very much the case this coming autumn/winter, when designers across the globe approach tweed from new directions.
There’s a defiantly tonal tweed trend, for example, offering layered and head-to-toe looks in either the same or similar shades and patterns of tweed. This means that the tweed trouser suit and skirt suit are must-haves, with sleek yet jaunty slim-fitting tweed tailored separates striding the line between town and country, work and weekend and even – with a touch of sparkle – day and night. Invest in a tweed trouser suit this autumn, and your wardrobe options will be considerably boosted.
There is fine tweed cloth too, lighter and more fluid than the traditional, transformed into structured yet drapy pieces with clean lines and asymmetric shapes (see Balenciaga and Stella McCartney).
There are dresses with dramatic yet wearable silhouettes, the sort of pieces you can wear anywhere. We’re seeing long flared coats for men and women and, at the other end of the scale, tweed mini skirts.
Way ahead of the pack is Timothy Foxx, which took a prominent stand at this year’s Great Yorkshire Show, where visitors fell in love with its chic little tweed jackets and minis.
The brand was founded in 2009 by Rosalie Eustace and specialises in designing and making what it describes as “exceptionally eccentric tweed clothing”.
Rosalie started with an old tweed jacket borrowed from her father, cut it up and created a tweed mini skirt with a touch of vibrant silk. “The problem was that suddenly all my friends wanted to borrow it,” she says. “It spent so much time on loan I hardly ever got to wear it myself.”
So she started creating more skirts, and grew her own brand, naming it after a family toy horse, a mascot that appears on the Timothy Foxx stands. The range now includes men’s tweed jackets, waistcoats and accessories, hotpants and mini skirts, sophisticated jackets and knee-length skirts.
Meanwhile, Cordings of Piccadilly, which opened its first store outside of London in Harrogate two years ago, is tweed heaven for town and country lovers alike, male and female. Each season it comes up with striking, flattering, beautiful pieces in tweed that nod to modern trends, but are also true investment pieces, crafted from the finest British fabrics you can find.
Similarly, Barbour, another great British brand, based in South Shields, celebrates the countryside with tweeds and woollens in earthy tones and contemporary-classic designs that work with any wardrobe.
And Leeds-based Joe Browns, a lover of colour and detail, has created a number of tweed pieces for men and women, supported for autumn/winter by a photo-shoot at Swinton Park Estate, near Ripon. Quirky mismatched buttons add interest to clean, fitted, flattering tailoring. Oooh la la. Although there’s no need to go to France for your chicest tweed looks. They’re right here on our doorstep.