The coming of the cooler months can only mean one thing in the world of fashion: an excuse to layer up. We’ve just launched a brand new collection, and, if we do say so ourselves, we’re a little bit in love. We sat down for five minutes with our leading lady, founder, CEO and head designer Sarah Chessis, to get the story behind the Isabella Wren AW17 collection.
Hi Sarah! Give us the elevator pitch on the Isabella Wren AW17 collection.
In a nutshell, our new collection is Audrey Hepburn meets Katharine Hepburn. It’s all about elegant, clean lines, with a black, white and grey focus with interesting design features like feathers. We’ve spent the past year refining and getting our basic styles and block designs right. During that time we were somewhat conservative with the clothes we were putting out because most of our energy was being spent on getting the fit right. For the new collection, after getting the details right, I wanted us to have some fun and be creative.
Can you tell us a bit about how the collection came to be?
My partner and co-creater Midodo and I love to wander around the fabric and accessory markets in China looking at what vendors are putting out and seeing what catches our eyes – we have a rule that if only one of us likes something then we put it down, but when we have a double love then we go all in. Going through the markets in July and August we kept on seeing feathers and frills that we knew would be the perfect pairing to the fabulous textured fabrics that I had purchased during my fabric purchasing trip earlier in the year. Bold textured fabrics with dramatic accents became part of the core theme of our latest work. Creating the collections is really my favourite part of the job, and it’s when I get the most inspired about what we are doing at Isabella Wren.
Fabric and cut are a big focus of the Isabella Wren brand. What role do these elements play in your latest collection?
I am so excited about the fabrics for this collection. We secured some really beautiful limited-run pieces from our best suppliers that are just so elegant. The fabrics we’ve used in combination with the feathers add a bit of individual flair and drama to each of the pieces. The cut of the garments is consistent with our earlier work. We want to make women look trim and powerful.
What can we look forward to with the Isabella Wren AW17 collection in terms of playing with fabrics and layers?
Our clothes are very much styled to be ‘board room to the cocktail bar’, and this collection is no exception. So you could absolutely see women in our latest collection looking professional at the office and then super stylish during the holiday party season. For the cooler months, we’re releasing a collection of wonderful poncho-like coats with warm checks and velvet prints that you can wrap around your shoulders during the cool winter nights. They also make great gifts! Generally, we’ve moved away from lighter silks and gone with heavier tweeds and wools and using bright reds that are a perfect fit for one of my favourite times of the year.