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Equipment

The blouse is set to be a style staple for spring 11 and US women’s shirt specialist Equipment is tipped to be the choice brand.

The blouse is back on the buying agenda as part of a spring 11 season driven heavily by separates, and the recently relaunched premium women’s shirt label Equipment is perfectly placed to reap the rewards.

A flurry of chic and effortless blouses glided down the catwalks in Milan and Paris in September. German minimalist house Jil Sander used the button-up blouse to inject colour on the catwalk in Milan, while in Paris, Dries Van Noten teamed loose-fit blouses with palazzo pants and Stella McCartney matched the blouse with tailored jackets.

Blouses were employed not just as an afterthought to complement skirts and trousers but as an integral part of outfits, and they were often cut loosely and were clean with a lack of surface detail.

Cult 1970s label Equipment has been pushed back into the limelight by its owners just in time for this resurgence. It was founded in 1976 by Christian Restoin, partner of French Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld, and Serge Azria, chief executive of contemporary womenswear brand Joie and premium denim label Current/Elliott. Equipment’s UK distribution is being handled by premium agency M&L Harris and the label has a stock service so orders can be placed for as long as the stock lasts.

Equipment blouses aren’t cheap. With an RRP of about £200 and a wholesale price range of £76 for a

Signature shirt to about £100 for a python-print shirt, they are investment pieces. It’s the signature washed, silk finish and elegant cut that has led ahead-of-the-curve buyers such as Luisa de Paula, buying and merchandising director at etailer My-Wardrobe, to snap up the brand.

De Paula has bought into Equipment for spring 11 and the pre-collection landed on the site last month. “The brand has become a key name to know and the minimal design is becoming an iconic shape for the season,” she says. “We’ve bought into a wide palette with bright colours as well as neutral shades. The success of the blouse/shirt hybrid has come at a time when separates have never been more popular.”

Equipment 020 7428 3280

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