Brands continue to focus on outerwear for autumn 11, with emphasis on quality and design details.
The focus for autumn 11 at Camel Active is on layering, functionality and protective materials. Lightweight wool, tweeds and vintage-style greased calf leather contrast with more functional fabrics such as nylon and coated cotton. The palette comprises frosty shades of grey and green, petrol and plum, with rust, ochre and khaki highlights. As for key pieces, military parkas with protective hoods and fake fur,
short field jackets, lambskin bomber jackets, slim hybrid coats, leather jackets and the blazer stand out in terms of outerwear. Elsewhere, lightweight knitwear is also backed heavily, with Fair Isle and argyle patterns adding interest. Polos, T-shirts, chinos and slim cargo pants complete the casual look.
Ben Sherman splits its collection into three stories for autumn 11. The Plectrum range showcases the brand’s more directional and contemporary pieces; the Script collection offers a mix of classic and trend-led staples; while the Heritage collection replaces Ben Sherman’s Signature line and is made up of the brand’s core items such as classic Oxford and gingham shirting, tipped polos, Harrington jackets and knitwear. Head of design Mark Williams says: “The more commercial pieces lie within the Script collection, and we believe the three-pocket fisherman’s jacket and Puffa-inspired styles will do well. This is also the first season that we have introduced light, mid and heavy weight divisions in our outerwear, providing options perfectly suited to cater for the turning of the seasons and the onset of another cold winter.”
Four stories make up Wolsey’s autumn 11 collection. Knitwear is key in the Vintage line, as is the layering of jersey and fine knits over twill shirts. Twisted yarns are used for colour effect, while fabrics include soft wools, alpaca blends and fine mélange cottons.
In the Heritage Sports range, corduroy trousers and waxed coats stand out, while Semester is a collegiate-inspired collection of rugby shirts and dual-layer jersey and shirts. Hebrides features heavyweight twills and Bedford cord shirts in dark blues and greys. Overall, shapes are slimmer and more body-conscious this season, longer in the length and narrower in sleeves and armholes. Wolsey head of design Alison Craft says: “Chunky knits and casual shirts will be the most commercial pieces, as we move to focus on a younger, 30-plus market.”
Woolrich has delved into its archive for its autumn 11 collection, specifically an expedition to Antarctica in 1939 which was funded by the US navy, when Woolrich was chosen as one of the suppliers.
“We found incredible records and images from the original expedition at the National Archives in Washington DC,” says menswear product manager Karuna Scheinfeld. “We considered everything from the zippers they used to the garment construction for cold weather climates and took this inspiration to create a collection using modern design technology with the highest-quality fabrics. The result is a seamless blend of authentic American style with 21st-century technology and, of course, a touch of Italian luxury.” Practically, this translates into a range of parkas using silhouettes from the expedition archives such as the anorak and military trench. “We’re very excited about the pattern offering for this season as well,” adds Scheinfeld. “Of course, we have our classic iconic plaids. However, we’ve added an amazing selection of stripes, dobby weaves, Fair Isle and micro-patterns on shirts and sweaters. Colours include cream, pale grey, taupe, khaki, navy and charcoal, with accents of red.”
Eden Park and the Rugby Football Union (RFU) have collaborated to create a 20-piece capsule collection for autumn 11 characterised by rugby’s heritage and featuring the motifs and colours of the RFU. An anchor piece is the blazer, which is an institution at rugby-inspired brand Eden Park. Autumn 11’s black blazer has a contrasting red striped lining with the England rose logo on the chest. A flash of red lines the underside of the collar and edges of the top buttonhole. Buttons are rugby ball shaped and the pocket linings are also red and white. Launching in time for the Six Nations rugby tournament, the capsule collection is part of a six-year deal the brand signed with the RFU last autumn.
“The [autumn 11] collection continues the brand’s strong outerwear and tailoring focus, but also responds more fully to our customers’ needs for a complete wardrobe,” says DS Dundee designer Elizabeth Reeds. “We are working very hard to keep our price points
down despite the surge in raw material costs, so we’ve also broken up our three-piece suit, for example, into stronger separates for the wholesale market. The opening of our Spitalfields store in east London has been great at taking customer feedback directly into the design room. For instance, we have significantly increased our shirt offering.” Key pieces for next season include a single-breasted melton coat, shooting jackets, an Aran-knit polo-neck jumper, dapper trousers, Fair Isle socks and winter seersucker and silk ties. The most commercial pieces, according to Reeds, will be the melton outerwear, trousers, shirting, and lambswool Fair Isle knits.
“As a brand, we’ve pushed forward with our collection development outside our core strength of jackets and quilts and will present strong contemporary knitwear, shirting and jersey to reinforce our position as the country-based brand of choice,” says Barbour head of menswear Ian Bergin of its autumn 11 collection. Bright nylons are essential for next season and Barbour will also offer
photo-print linings in contemporary and classic styles based on re-renderings of its archive. Bergin is backing waterproof bright nylons and heavy shawl-neck knitted cardigans with leather and suede reinforcement as the most commercial pieces for autumn 11, with Barbour “spending more time putting better finishes and fits into our products so they always provide value and a feeling of quality”. Bergin adds: “Working in collaboration with the Steve McQueen estate, Barbour has produced a capsule collection focusing on [Hollywood legend and motorsport competitor] Steve’s participation in the 1964 East German International Six-Day Trial.
It celebrates his iconic style allied to the practicality and durability of his choice of performance motorcycle clothing at the time.”
Founder Liam Gallagher’s interest in the 1960s music scene “has greatly shaped the Pretty Green collection” for autumn 11, says design director Nick Holland, who backs the brand’s “core lines in jersey and high-quality staple basics” as the most commercial pieces for next season.
Both the Black and Green collections focus on a dark palette of greys, clarets and greens, punctuated with brights of teal, pink and purple. Fabrics are “purist”, says Holland, “with Egyptian cotton jerseys, British wools for outerwear and Italian cottons and silks for shirts and accessories”. Holland believes
a move away from heritage, which has been a key theme for the menswear market over the past few seasons, will characterise the market in autumn 11. Pretty Green will launch footwear, leather goods and accessories collections for next season and expand into new overseas markets as it develops its retail offering. “This will mean we will be highly focused in 2011,” says Holland.
Baracuta has also trawled its archive to put together its autumn 11 collection, taking inspiration from when “sportswear and outerwear were low tech,” says brand consultant Kevin Stone. “The look is low key, modernist and distinctively British with key colours of aged greens, blues, maroons, greys and black.”
Key pieces include the G9 and G10 Harrington jackets in fabrications including wool, in checks and plains.
A new staple in the range is the super-slim fit G10 in a cotton Teflon fabric.
Stone adds: “Our key raincoat is the Monaco double-breasted coat, made with the original waterproof pure cotton ventile cloth. The Malmo field jacket and Petersburg parka take styling inspiration from key 1970s outerwear, while quilted jackets shout outdoor country heritage.”