Interview by Emma Holmqvist Deacon

Wool is currently the height of cool in the industry. For his f/W16 women’s collection, London designer Christopher Raeburn teamed up with The Woolmark Company to explore the natural versatility of Merino wool. The collaboration resulted in his entire women’s offering being crafted from the fiber in a myriad of different forms – pure and blended. During London Fashion Week in February 2016, Raeburn explained the thinking behind his designs, which will be available this coming fall via the designer’s own E-shop and select stockists.

You’re known for your modern interpretations of historic detail. What chapter of the past has inspired your latest womenswear offering – Woolmark X Christopher Raeburn?

I drew on ceremonial military uniforms from different periods, transferring the aesthetic and feel of pieces such as a vintage drummer’s jacket to womenswear. To me, the collection is about the balance of functionality and femininity, and the way we worked with wool is reflected in this particular interplay.

Woolmark X Christopher Raeburn
Woolmark X Christopher Raeburn
How did you use wool in the collection?
The main focus in the Woolmark X Christopher Raeburn collection is Merino wool and its technical advances, and we wanted to demonstrate its layer-friendly versatility by incorporating everything from fine base layers and Sherpa Merino fleece liners to heavy, protective coats and chunky knits made of combed, fluffy wool. We broadened the spectrum by adding different textures alongside the many variants that can be achieved with wool in its noble form. One of the key blends is an 80%-20% wool- silk jacquard we used for garments including a jumpsuit and a puffa jacket.

Aside from creating different wool fabrics and blends from scratch, we also applied embellishments and decorative elements typical of ceremonial uniforms, such as rope taping. Another key feature is hand-worked placement embroidery created by Jenny King Embroidery studio in Brighton.

There is footwear, too. In what way does wool feature here?
We’ve teamed up with Clarks yet again, this time creating two types of ankle boots combining leather and felted wool panels. Both styles have been fitted with reversible insoles, featuring leather on one side and wool on the other.