By Mijean Rochus
Edward Crutchley AW21 is a paean to the cultural iconography of The North of England and the no-nonsense opulence of its matriarchs. The collection is named after the original title for the British soap Coronation Street, devised by Tony Warren in the 1960s as a ‘fascinating freemasonry, a volume of unwritten rules’.
Crutchley looks to a host of gutsy personalities loved for their straightforwardness, approachability and humour. From the formality of farmers dressed smartly for an auction to the earthy camp of drag queen Lily Savage, the mood is dressed-up for downtime. Workwear donkey jackets are in oversized leopard jacquard. Keitel bomber jackets – a shape native to Crutchley’s birthplace in the Dales – are in moiré. The designer’s signature flamboyance has eased into supple cashmere melange tracksuits, swing coats and flared macs wine a longer line. Tailoring is slimmer.
Colours riff off the cusolic northern landscape and hardy English textiles are reproduced with a luxurious, couture handle. A contemporary cashmere tweed and leopard merino jacquard from Johnstons of Elgin are the apogee of Bet Lynch meets b-boy style. Two damask prints featuring the ED wheel logo and a plumage of ostrich feathers are based on 1820s designs from the textile printing museum in Mulhouse, France. A lush ornithological print featuring crows, pheasants and foliage is an amalgam of works by the famed naturalist John James Audubon. Temple frescos on Liugong Island, China – a resting place for British Navy Offiers in the early years of the 20th century – are collaged to create a dense marble throng.
Throughout his career, Crutchley has been committed to an environmentally sustainable way of working the feeds right through the supply chain, fully involving artisans, factories and their suppliers. For AW21 a leopard slug graphic is digitally printed by Biddle Sawyer in Manchester onto organic silk, and also appears in a brand new textile developed to mirror the appearance of moiré. The design is first applied onto a warp of recycled polyester before it is woven in the manner of an old school couture Ottoman fabric in Como by Gentili Mosconi.
Cardigan stitch pullovers, ribbed bandanas and cashmere beanies are all by Johnstons of Elgin and are knitted on the Scottish Borders. All of Johnstons knitwear is washed in water from the River Teviot, which contains the perfect blend of natural pH and mineral content for the softest natural finishing. A range of contemporary micro-textured tailoring from Bower Roebuck in Hebden Bridge offer a fresh, lighter take on scratchy British outdoor sporting regalia.
This is a character study of northern grit and glamour. It’s all down to the details: tonal grape vines in recycled polyester cord and sustainably sourced sequins are embellished as borders on suits and dresses by London Embroidery Studio. Sweatshirts feature quilted comedy and tragedy masks which draw their inspiration from the Beijing Opera.
Judith Leiber has exclusively made three jewelled animal-shape clutch bags to accompany this collection – a leopard, sausage dog and snail – as well as a new slim clutch shape in seasonal prints. Sovereign rings are double chain pendants made using a mix of British Pound and Euro coins are by Victoria Rickard and Gianluigi Zocchedu. Patent leather loafers with an exaggerated frilled upper and a convex heel are made by ROKER. Stephen Jones has worked on sport flat caps and a floating handkerchief style evoking a head scarf tied over an abundance of hair rollers. It is a nod to Crutchley’s Nana Lorna.