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Label Lessons

Let’s Get Reacquainted

Seven brands you need to get to know all over again


This season we’re excited about old names with new ideas. Here are six brands that may have drifted off your fashion radar but, thanks to new creative direction, we want to get to know them all over again.

by Alannah Sparks


Who: Brazilian designer Daniella Helayel created her London-based label for the summertime girls of this world: honeyed, happy, and slinking around in silk jersey dresses. But summer can’t go on forever, and so Helayel left her label in last year to pursue new projects. Enter Blue Farrier, the Chloe-trained, Stella McCartney-honed London designer who’s taken the label in a completely new direction. Not a Kate Middleton wrap dress in sight.

What: Standout building blocks for the modern woman’s wardrobe in unabashedly bold colours: turtlenecks to pair with billowing skirts, soft culottes with sharp tees, and dramatic after-hours dresses. Think Roksanda’s palette with Consuelo Castiglioni’s sentiment.

On our wishlist: The long wrap skirt with colour-blocking that would make Sonia Delaunay proud.


Who: Stefano Pilati, the cool, calm, and cerebral ex-figurehead at the label formerly known as Yves Saint Laurent, has taken the reigns at Agnona. The Zegna-owned Italian cashmere house has enjoyed being the secret preserve of the pashmina-wearing elite since its inception in 1953, but that is set to change with Pilati at the helm and ice-cool socialite Dree Hemingway as the face of the brand for AW14.

What: Clothes that spell money - only the rarest cashmeres, alpacas, and leathers are used to make the modern separates, which feature a deceptively simple cut and an air of intellect.

On our wishlist: The wool and alpaca hooded cape is the stuff that winter’s fairytales are made of.

Marc by Marc Jacobs

Who: Katie Hillier and Luella Bartley, two sprightly blonde Londoners of unarguably cool stock. Longtime Marc Jacobs accessories consultant and former raver Hillier is Creative Director, and in that capacity she appointed Bartley - queen of quirk and erstwhile designer of her much-missed eponymous label - as design director. Together they’ve given Marc Jacobs’ secondary brand a fast and sharp injection of London edge.

What: ‘Revolution’ – the youthful buzzword invoked by the designers for the debut collection for the brand. Think soldiers of style in military garb, with a generous helping of schoolgirl sass.

On our wishlist: Chunky-knit sweaters to layer over shirts and polonecks, under belts, and under bustiers – this is all about layering up, baby.

Emanuel Ungaro

Who: The French house has suffered a severe bout of multiple designer disorder in recent years, swinging from Giles Deacon (good) to Lindsay Lohan (catastrophic) in the eleven years since Ungaro himself retired from the label. Now three seasons into his tenure as Creative Director, the ebullient Fausto Puglisi is bringing youthful punch and party-girl panache back into the house’s codes.

What: Graphic patterns drawing on Ungaro’s heritage as prince of prints, and fabulous red carpet swag in the form of thigh-split power dresses and lashings of embellishment.

On our wishlist: The megawatt monochrome chevron print trousers and matching graphic tee for a modern take on the classic 80’s power suit.


Who: The Italian house was effectively – ahem – put on ice by most of the fashion industry when it went through a somewhat glitzy stage in the past few years. But the icy baton has now been passed to Federico Curradi, who’s fresh from the hills of Florence and armed with a generous dose of street smarts. From the sporty sweaters to the macho parkas, all of a sudden Iceberg is looking rather cool.

What: Cleverly distorted classic menswear prints, such as Prince of Wales check and herringbone, reinterpreted in streamlined sporty pieces such as bomber jackets and nippy pea coats. Oh, and Batman – the season’s leitmotif, cleverly drawn upon to represent metamorphosis.

On our wishlist: A slick and smart knitted turtleneck subtly printed with a 3D check print – just enough to make it look different to everyone else’s skinny knit polo this season.

Ermenegildo Zegna

Who: Those clever Zegnas knew they’d hit a goldmine when they tapped Stefano Pilati to head up their menswear brand. All of a sudden Ermenegildo Zegna’s world-renowned city slicker has gained a subtle edge. That sophisticated skewing of protocol, which is Pilati’s signature, has been applied to the luxurious Zegna wardrobe, resulting in clothing for a man who knows exactly how to fit in but can’t help standing out.

What: Oversized outerwear in country gent checks, parkas to battle the elements and charm society, impeccable tailoring and rich knitwear in shadowy forest hues.

On our wishlist: A double-breasted tweed blazer to add a dose of aristo-cool to our weekends.

Haider Ackermann

Who: You will long have associated the name Haider Ackermann with luscious swathes of silk and alchemic draping. But here’s the fun part: the elusive Colombian designer is now applying his poetic touch to menswear. His first full menswear collection for Spring 2014 was met with rapturous reviews and now for fall he has really hit his stride. Add his name to your favourites now.

What: Deconstructed tailoring with a louche bohemian air.

On our wishlist: The loose-fit windowpane-check ‘Medici’ jacket – so unstudied, so elegant, so right for throwing on over your favourite t-shirt and sitting down with an espresso and a well-thumbed Sartre book.