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Carolyn Massey

Freshly installed at Lyle & Scott, the menswear designer tells ian wright about her plan for an evolution of its heritage.

You’re best known for your eponymous menswear label, so what enticed you to the head of design role at Lyle & Scott?

It’s a true heritage brand, and no one really knows about that side of it. Founded in 1874 in Scotland, it produced its own fine-gauge underwear, moving on to produce for other houses such as Dior. There is a real sense of craft within this brand, which hasn’t been tapped into. There is so much here for me to draw upon, and therein lies the excitement.

Why now?

Why not?

How have your first few weeks at Lyle & Scott been?

Manic and brilliant.

Does your appointment signal a change in creative direction for the brand?

An evolution rather than a change, but yes, I’m very much part of it.

What challenges do you think you will encounter, both business-wise and creatively, coming from your own luxury label to a big brand?

Knowing where my job ends and someone else’s begins! I’m used to wearing a lot of hats, but this has given me a fantastic overview of the life cycle of the product, so actually it’s a massive positive.

You come from a menswear background – how will you go about applying your handwriting to Lyle & Scott’s womenswear?

Womenswear across the Vintage line has been put to one side for now. It’s something we may well return to in the future, as womenswear was inherent within the business historically.

What sets Lyle & Scott apart in the market?

The fantastic stories it has attached to it (which I’ll be communicating through autumn 13) and where it’s come from.

What does your new job mean for the Carolyn Massey brand?

I shall be focusing in on Lyle & Scott for the foreseeable future.

Your collaboration with Asos must have been fun – was working with a big retailer an influence when considering the Lyle & Scott job?

Yes! Asos are great to work with, and give their collaborators a lot of creative freedom. I realised that, instead of wearing those 20 hats, I could wear one as head of design and be supported at all angles. How refreshing.

My day at Lyle & Scott usually begins with…

The horror that I’ve failed in my quest to have a tidy, purist desk, but I’ll get there.

How do you switch off after a hard day designing?

A nice glass of Pouilly-Fumé.

Polo shirt or T-shirt?


Whose personal style do you admire?

It can be anyone – putting a person on a pedestal kills them for me.

Who would play you in the movie of your life?

A young Glynis Barber channelling Charlotte Rampling.

What would be on the soundtrack of that movie?

Joy Division, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Cure and Rozalla.

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