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Brandwatch: Woolrich womenswear

The US heritage brand mans up for autumn by putting a new twist on old designs, says Emily Norval.


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When talking of heritage brands, you’d be hard-pressed to find many with more of a pedigree than Woolrich, which was founded in the US in 1830.

And for autumn 13, it is using its history as a starting point for an overhaul of its womenswear. The design team visited the brand’s Pennsylvania mills, taking fabric and pattern proofs from the archives and reworking them with a modern slant under the title The Gentlewoman. In working from designs originally for men, the collection is given a slightly tomboyish feel.

Woolrich creative director Andrea Crane tells Drapers: “The slightly boyish attitude is very important. From the male wardrobe we’ve stolen tailoring pieces like the blazer and classic ones like the shirt, maintaining the masculine details but adapting them to the female form.”

In line with Woolrich’s heritage, a focus on technical fabric has been maintained. Crane says: “We tried to keep a good balance between newly developed fabrics and basic, simple ones. In this collection, for example, we’ve developed a technical wool, bonded to a super-technical membrane that renders the fabric completely waterproof, but still elegant and soft.”

Colour is also key, with a palette ranging from pastels to deeper shades of wine and tobacco. There’s a sense of attitude in the collection, with separates looking particularly strong and of the moment given the masculinity seen on the autumn 13 catwalks.

By mixing the old with the new, Woolrich has hit on what women want to wear today.

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