LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – At the rear of Margaret Howell’s shop is a long, timbered window, a hangover from the space’s days as a Victorian carpet dealer’s gallery. Most of its original panels are replaced over the years with dirt-caked, furrowed plastic or wired security glass. Iit is the kind of detail that Howell appreciates both in architecture and clothing; the found, the inexact, the if-it-isn’t-broke-don’t-mess-with-it. And it is the detail that adds heat and character to the cool, white-walled William Russell interior that doubles as Howell’s show space.
That doubling up means that, uniquely in London, the garments are seen a great deal as they’re going to be by customers at the top of this year. Aand they are conjointly seen very much like they’re going to be in real life; most men do not, after all, pay their days walking before of psychedelic video screens or beating neon ceilings. In Howell’s quiet, skylit space, though, both the models and also the garments gave the impression they were simply walking down a winter London street.
The light, and also the slim proportions of the runway, meant that the collection’s small details were as visible to the audience as they might be to a client — the plain-woven diamond details on the back of roll-neck sweaters, the whip-stitched edges, the raised pockets, the bands of contrast color blocked onto sudden tunic-style vests. And beyond that, Howell’s subtle Vermeer colors shone as they could not have tired a bigger venue — gloomy peat, charcoal, flannel and indigo, broken into with flashes of chestnut, mustard, brown and duck-egg blue. there isn’t any doubt that they will look equally fascinating once the catwalk is dismantled, the hanging rails came back to their positions, and also the space reverted to its primary function — showing, and selling, Howell’s thoughtful garments.